Sometime in October this year, residents of capital city Freetown woke up to a rude shock of massive opening of graves in almost all the cemeteries. The opening of graves in Sierra Leone, especially in Freetown is nothing new, the one in October become a topical discussion because of the increased in number of graves that were crake open, at the Circular Road cemetery alone. In the centre business district 39 graves were open, almost all the grave site where raided.
(Photo curtsy of Awoko Newspaper Sierra Leone)
A lot of people are aware that graves are raided by some cult members for ritual reasons, body part or shallots “treasure hunters”, who break graves for jewelries and casket fitting or even the casket itself. Added to the lists quite recently were cliques and gangsters members, who open graves for human bones, they prepared as a poisonous weapon to stab their victims or use during the rivalry street battles. In addressing journalists at his Wallace Johnson Street head office, Mayor Sam Bode Frankley Gibson debunked allegations that graves were illicitly opened for ritual purposes. “It is not for ritual purposes but for economic reasons,” he said. He explained that the graves which are being broken into are not just any graves but those of affluent people, adding that in most cases their jewelries and casket fittings are stolen, however, after a conducted tour at the affected cemeteries by the major and his team, he discovered that almost all the graves opened where very old graves, he realized it was not for jewelries and casket fittings, he had early belief. Later in all his radio and television interviews, he made it abundantly clear that very old graves where opened therefore it could not be body part, bones jewelries and casket fittings because they have all rot and rust over the years. So what was the reason them?
The answer came from a popular week end radio good governance programme called monologue, presented by Dr David Tam Bayoh. He told the nation during one of his monologue programme that he has discovered that hard drugs like cocaine and Brown-Brown are stored in cemeteries, until drug baron complete their transaction with retailers. Therefore, massive graves opened on the 10th October is strongly link with hard drug. “If you know what I know you wouldn’t laugh” Tam will often say on his programme whenever, he link out vital information. I got interested in the story, contacted Dr David Tam Bayoh for details. Like any professional Journalist, she/he will never reveal his/her sources on such critical matters as illegal drug. He advised i conduct my own investigation. Independently, in my research I learnt that the massive raid on the cemeteries was as a result of a fall out amongst hard drug retailers. Some group learnt they have been double cross as some consignment of drug in the city have being sold. To confirm what they considered a rumor. They decided to check at the original cemetery where it was kept. All the drugs had disappeared. Aware that their commodity is only safely stored in the grave yard, they declared operation wide search according Bishop Blackstone (this not his real name).
When I asked why the stored their business in cemetery, Alhaji Elijah say ‘because if the information leak out, and our business is discovered the custodian has vow not expose us’, he pause, noticed I was bemused at his expression “ custodian” he whispered “dead men don’t talk”. His physical appearance changed, and added “I only gave you few seconds because I have been seeing you often on the Television talking about reforms in national drug laws, but I don’t trust any living soul of Adam, not even you perhaps you have received brown envelop from the government to betray us, our trusted business partners are the dead, avoid our area now”. It was a commend then I quickly walk away. But the facts have been established, Dr. David Tam Bayoh was right; hard drugs are stored in the cemeteries in Freetown. The massive grave desecration was in search of drugs. The Mayor too was partly right for saying it was for “economic reasons“ but not for jewelries and casket fittings he had earlier belief. It was not human bones to make deadly weapons neither for ritual purposes but for illegal hard drugs cocaine and Brown-Brown.
Saa Matthias D BENDU is the National Coordinator Development Initiatives and Hope for the Vulnerable and Director of Communication West Drug Policy Network Sierra Leone Chapter.