Traditional leaders across Liberia have temporarily banned all Poro and Sande societies until otherwise ordered.
The Sande (for women) and Poro (for men) societies are the trusted custodians of “culture” in much of Liberia and have been present in the region for centuries.
Henceforth, the resolution will take effect after two weeks, when the chief shall have then agreed and signed it.
The chiefs and elders observed that there have been some illegal practices reportedly carried on by some of the Poro and or Sande leaders, which sometimes infringed on the rights of non members, mainly in the religious circle.
“Sometimes, Poro members will put their “country devil” out in broad day light, thus obstructing free movement of ordinary people, who are non members of either societies,” said Chief Peter Barlon of Nimba County. “People have been forced to join the bush school, something that often infringed on the rights of those who are not members,” he added.
“Country devil” (not really referring to the mask dancers), and other traditional practices involving the Poro and Sande societies have become frequent in recent months, where ordinary non-members are conscripted to join, against their will.
In Nimba, last year, a member of the United Liberia Inland Church in the Saclepea region was forced out of his home and conscripted into the Poro Society. The situation almost led to serious conflict between Christians and Poro society members in the region.
In some parts of the county, the country devil would often come out in broad day, posing threat to the free movement of people, and also forcing students to abandon school to join the society.
In Gbarpolu, Alphanso Leyadopoe Dennis, an officer of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), who innocently came out of his dwelling to attend to nature one night, was abducted by the country devil. Officer Dennis was assigned as commander in Forkpah Town with jurisdictions over several towns and hamlets, including Beleh Kpallamue and Martumakolleh, all in the Gonwailala District.
And as a result of officer Denis’s abduction, his fellow joint security officers assigned in the area, who are also not members of the Poro Society, reportedly abandoned their posts due to the persistent presence of the ‘Country Devil’, which has allegedly terrorized the residents.