December 20, 2007

British gov't eases off banishment to witch-cult mutilation

Alhassan "Al" Bangura, Watford's 19-year-old from Sierra Leone, can breathe a little bit easier today.

The British government will allow him to apply for a work permit, keeping him from being deported back to his home country -- and back to the waiting knives of a witch cult.

You heard me right.

According to this story from the Associated Press, Bangura fears mutilation by machete if he returns to Africa. His father -- who died -- was the chief of a society that practices witchcraft.

Said Bangura (right) of the initiation process he would face back home:
"They're not good things that they are doing; they cut off bits of their body," he said.

If he were forced to return home, "it would be like someone is just taking my life away."
Bangura has been seeking asylum in England since he was 15. When he first arrived he was almost raped by two men. Four years later, it seems, the government tried to finish the job, claiming Bangura was "exaggerating" the danger he faced back home.

The government argued Africa refugees seeking asylum from countries torn by civil war are not automatically eligible.

Last week, Bangura was thisclose to being sent back to Sierra Leone, away from his fiancee and child. His initial appeal was quickly denied.

Thankfully the people would not allow it. The Watford faithful, helped in part by honorary life president Elton John, massed in support for their player. Even opposing fans would cheer Bangura in support.

The media has made his plight mainstream, only helping the young teenager's cause.

Unfortunately, Bangura's fight for survival isn't over. He still has to be granted the permit, one that would normally be quite difficult since he hasn't played in a game.

But thankfully, he has the support of his team and the people. Hopefully, the pressure will be enough to give him the protection he deserves.

Said Watford chairman Graham Simpson to Sky Sport News:
"He is a special case because he is is a highly skilled individual who has a great talent and if you send him back to the country where he has come from then he will be unable to use that talent and that is a great shame.

...

"He has had great hardship which has been well documented and he is part of the Watford family.

"We support him and we are all in this together and hopefully this will be resolved in the next few weeks."

1 comment:

Starkweather said...

Jesu Cristo. Where do I buy my 'Free Alhassan "Al" Bangura' t-shirts?