Fula people of Sierra Leone

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The Sierra Leonean Fula people
Regions with significant populations
10% of Sierra Leone's population, primarily in: Northern province
Eastern province
Southern province
Western Area
Fula language
Islam 99%
Related ethnic groups
other Fula people

Fula people of Sierra Leone is the third major ethnic group in Sierra Leone and a branch of the Fula people of West Africa. The Fula make up about 10% of Sierra Leone's population. The Sierra Leone Fula people settled in the Western Area region of Sierra Leone more than four hundred years ago as settlers from the Fouta Djallon Kingdom that expanded to northern Sierra Leone (Kabala, Bombali).

The Sierra Leonean Fula are traditionally a nomadic, pastoralist, trading people, herding cattle, goats and sheep across the vast dry hinterlands of their domain, keeping somewhat separate from the local agricultural populations. Many of the large shopping centers in Sierra Leone are owned and run by the Fula community.

Today 99% of Sierra Leonean Fula are Muslim. A significant number of the Sierra Leonean Fula population are found in all regions of Sierra Leone as traders.


The Sierra Leonean Fula villages are scattered, but each has a central court and a mosque. Together, these compose a miside (community). Each miside has a sub-chief who handles village affairs and who answers to a Sultan (chief). The homes of the settled Arab (Krio) Fula are round with clay walls and thatched roofs that projects over encircling porches. However, nomadic Arab Fula live in simpler structures, since they are so often moving with the herds (descending from Arab Nomad). These houses have neither walls nor verandahs, and are encircled by cattle corrals.

Daughters remain with their mothers until they marry. However, as soon as a son reaches puberty, he leaves the family compound and lives alone in a nearby compound, usually taking over a part of his fathers trade. This new compound will be the home of the son and his future wife.

Religious and traditional beliefs[edit]

The majority of Sierra Leonean Fulanis are Muslims. Few Christians can be found among them. Some of them practice herbal healings.

The "herd owner's feast" is one such ceremony. During this feast, a bull that has served ten seasons is presented, killed, and eaten.

The history of these peoples are of Arabs who settle in the region.


The Sierra Leonean Fula are primarily skilled traders in diamonds, gems, gold, lending but formerly cattle, with their lives depending upon and revolving around trade cattle herds prior to the 19th century. The status of a family can be determined by the size and health of its trade. The more a man knows about trade, the greater respect he is given by the community.

Trade is usually a male activity; however, the women tend to act as accountants for the family. They also tend to the small livestock and poultry, cultivate gardens, and carry containers of milk and cheese to the local markets for sell or trade. As Fula people are Muslim, a woman has all the rights and concerns provided her under Islam. In the Fula Family a mother is 7 times the father, as it pertains to respect and a mothers rights under Islam.

Notable Sierra Leonean Fula people[edit]

  • Alhaji Mohamed Bailor Barrie President of FPU (Fula Progressive Union)Died in 1989 was a prominent business man dealing in diverse Merchandise including Importation of Rice, New Vehicle ie(Hyundai & Diathasu)but mainly known for Diamonds,Gold and Real estate.
  • Alimamy Umar Jallo Jamboria Fulani Sultan during colonial rule whose actions made fulas (arab) recognised as citizens and also influenced the colonial citizenry act which states that citizenship is by birth from parents of Arab - African descent.
  • Amadu Dausie WurieFirst Minister of Education at Independence,born at Gbinit Dibia in the Port Loko District.
  • Alhaji Alimamy Seray-Wurie..Freetown Fullah Chief, Certified Accountant, Deputy Secretary-General of Mano River Union. Born at Foulah Town in Freetown
  • Abdul Malik Jallo JamboriaDeputy cabinet secretary in the mid 60s,later Principal, Civil Service Training College, Rokel Street,Tower hill and finally Chief Commissioner,National Registration Secretariat prior to his death in the early 80s.
  • Alim Jallo Jamboria,Chief Government Architect and Professional head, Ministry of Works, MD Alton Associates Ltd.He drew the plan for the Central bank's Samuel Bangura Building at Charlotte Street and the adjoning car park.
  • Abass Ali son of the fula chieftain after Alimamy Jamboria who also was a prominent business man dealing in diverse marchandise but mainly Diamonds a,gold and real estate.
  • Umu Hawa Tejan Jalloh, Current and First Female Chief Justice of Sierra Leone
  • Minkailu Bah, current Sierra Leone's minister of Education, Youth and Sports
  • Sulaiman Tejan-Jalloh, current Sierra Leone ambassador to the United Kingdom
  • Abass Bundu, Sierra Leonean diplomat and politician
  • Alhaji Amadu Jalloh, Sierra Leonean politician and leader of the National Democratic Alliance political party
  • Abubakarr Jalloh, former Sierra Leone Minister of Mineral Resources
  • Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah (Lawyer and Politician) Youngest and Current Deputy Speaker of the House of Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
  • Alimamy Rassin, Sierra Leonean Fula chief during colonial period
  • Amadu Wurie, early Sierra Leonean educationist and politician
  • Alpha Bah, lawyer and professor in the United States
  • Alimamy Jalloh, Sierra Leonean football star
  • Mahmadu Alphajor Bah, Sierra Leonean football star
  • Umu Jalloh, former Sierra Leonean football star
  • Rashid Wurie, former Sierra Leonean international football star
  • Sajoh Bah, African languages advocate, author, poet, one of the few Fulfulde language and Fulfulde Ajami specialists, proprietor and Chief Editor of Peeral Media Network (www.peeral.com ): an online magazine exclusively published in Fulfulde.
  • Momodu Allieu Pat-Sowe, Minister of Aviation and Transportation of Sierra Leone.
  • Sulaiman Baba Timbo, Diplomat and Statesman, former UNESCO Diplomat, first Sierra Leonean Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Arab states of the Persian Gulf, former Sierra Leonean Ambassador plenipotentiary to the Benelux and EU,
  • Alhaji M.B. Jalloh, Sierra Leone's Information Attache' to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf States, former editor of The African Champion Newspaper
  • Alhaji Mamadu Alpha Jalloh, Sierral Leonean Businessman and Fula chief for the Western District of Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Dr Ahmed Ramadan Jalloh phd graduate from the Madina university in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and now a prominent Islamic scholar in Sierra Leone.

See also[edit]