Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – A heartbreaking incident unfolded near the slum areas along Wharf Road in the Portee community at approximately 4 pm on Sunday, November 5th. Locals gathered as they made a grim discovery of two newborn babies, lifeless, laid under a cluster of banana trees near the sea.
The infants, with their umbilical cords still attached to their tiny stomachs, were suspected to have been abandoned by an unidentified pregnant mother who may have resided in the community.
Authorities from the Kissy division in the east of Freetown, in collaboration with personnel from the Rokupa Wharf police post, responded to the incident at around 10 pm that Sunday night. They arrived at the scene of this tragic occurrence where the babies had been left beneath the banana trees amid a collection of discarded items, near a residential building that provided access to the fishing wharf.
To ensure the safety of the infants, they were wrapped in separate pieces of traditional fabric and placed beside yellow plastic materials by the police, following the directive of the tribal head, Pa Alimamy Ampeace Kamara. This temporary arrangement was made until the authorities arrived later that night.
The community members believed that the two babies, a boy and a girl, were twins and had been delivered by an unidentified pregnant woman, whether from their own community or another, remains unknown. It is deeply concerning to the locals that such acts of child abandonment are not entirely uncommon and have been observed before.
In some instances, pregnant girls, often underage, reside with their peers and occasionally give birth in their residences without seeking medical assistance from a hospital. Furthermore, some of these women absolve themselves of their parental responsibilities, handing the care of the infants to other families in the community or accepting financial compensation for their care. AJ/7/11/2023