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Michael Fayia Kallon 1-22-2017 09:45 AM
Kissi Teng Chiefdom otherwise called ‘Kissi in the middle’ bulges into Guinea at Yenga on the stretches of the Makona River basin, and emerged at Beldu, a hamlet in Sierra Leone and on the Liberian border near the Mendekorma customs in Liberia. This area has been subjected to international outcry due to the Guinean military encroachment on Yenga since 1998, even after the end of the civil war in Sierra Leone in 2002.
History teaches us that the village of Yenga in Kissi Teng belongs to Sierra Leone. No one can dispute that fact. It was in 1912 that a treated that was signed between France and Britain demarcated the border between Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Kissi Teng traces its history far back to a warrior from Kissidugu named Kpain Tambillie, whose son was Favissi Konor who settled in the area (Abraham Arthur (2003). Kissi Teng was split from the Kissi kingdom in 1919 (2003); although the Kissi have settled in the area long before the 1800s.
It could be recalled that it was during Samory Toure’s wars in the French colonial army in the 1800s that pushed a massive incursion of other tribes from Guinea, through Kissi Teng, into the hinterland of Kissi Tongi, and Kissi Kama, and into the hinterland of Sierra Leone.
Furthermore, one of the other renowned warriors in Kissi Teng was Gbekah Gondo, otherwise called Kondo Gbekah. He was the famous forebear of the ruling, Foryoh family of Koindu. It was before the 1800s that his parents had migrated from Tumandu in Guinea, and settled in an area today called Koindu. It was reported that with his band of warriors like Bandakille Fugbu who lived in Yilandu village, today, just a stone’s throw from Koindu and among many were so gifted, and highly capable and invincible men.
Other famous warriors in Kissi Teng who fought with Gbekah Kondo were - Bundo Kevoh who lived in Turadu village, Kpangolo who lived in Fendu village, Konoh who lived in Chaesenei village, and the famous Bundo Nyumodu, who lived in Nyumodu village now consumed by the expansion of Koindu. It was reported that these brave Kissi warriors headed by Gbekah Kondo; were always ready to save their Lorma and Gbandi kinsmen against Samory Toure who sent his warriors to enlist warriors in today’s Voinjama, and the Kolahun areas in Liberia; to fight the French colonial army in Guinea in the 1800s. Even to this day, the Lorma and Gbandi tribes consider the Kissi their uncles in Liberia.
These Kissi warriors were so fearless that they dared Samory Toure not to cross the Makona River to seek warriors to enlist in his army, to fight the French colonial army in Guinea in the 1800s.
Furthermore, in 1958, the totalitarian regime of Sekou Toure in Guinea also drove massive numbers of Guinean some who crossed the Makona River and many passed through Kissi Teng and settled inland Sierra Leone.
In 1919, Paramount Chief Musa Bandabla - This ruling house traces the lineage of Saffa Bandabla, a section chief at the time of the partition who became the first recognized Paramount Chief. PC Musa Bandabela was dethroned, and succeeded by PC Gibao Ganawa, and then by his son, Jusu Ganawa who died in exile in Kissidou in Guinea during the civil war in Sierra Leone.
The current chief is Emmanuel Ganawa, a Kissi elected in 2010. This house traces the lineage of Gibao Ganawa, son of Favissi Konor the warrior king. They have their headquarters in Konidu village. There are five Sections in Kissi Teng Chiefdom namely:
Toli, Kundu, Bumasadu, Konio, and Lelah.
Furthermore, cannibalism was reported all over Kissi Bendu, although more prevalently in Kissi Teng Chiefdom, when in 1963, a famous hunter called Sahr Tarlu was ambushed and killed by a gang of cannibals headed his uncle in Yendah village. Budeh Tanah on the outskirts of Kangama was also a mysterious area that no one dared venture alone in those days.
The first primary school to be established in the three Kissi Chiefdoms was in Kangama, Kissi Teng. Also, the first Health Centre (Dispensary) in the three Kissi Chiefdoms was established in Kangama, Kissi Teng. The first Roman Catholic Church and settlement was established in Kpandu, Kissi Teng. The first Kissi Bendu Member of Parliament (MP), Hon. T.E. Juana, came from Kangama, Kissi Teng. The first secondary school built out of the joint efforts of the then three Paramount Chiefs of Kissi Kama, Tongi and Teng, “The Kissi Bendu Secondary School”, was located in Koindu, Kissi Teng.
Kissi Teng is important in Kissi Bendu - Sierra Leone because it has the largest and the famous Koindu International Market in Kissi land - Kpuyaah. It was considered the breadbasket of Kissi Bendu, and traders came as far as from Guinea and Liberia to the market on Sunday.
Kissi Teng is on the border of two countries in the region – Liberia and Guinea. It was the last chiefdom to be demilitarized during the civil war when the Guinean finally left Yenga, a diplomatic battled that started by the Sierra Leone peoples’ Party (SLPP), but achieved during the All Peoples’ Congress (APC) government in Sierra Leone in 2002.
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