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Foamansa Matturi

(ca. IRSS-1936)

KONG KING, WARRIOR AND DIPLOMAT

Foumansa Matturi was the ruler of Jaiama Nimikoro. in the Kono country. His fighting abilities and astute diplomacy helped bring stability to a region that was continually the target of invasions from both its neighbors and Samori Toures Sofa warriors. He was the fifth ruler of Jaiarnu.

For years, the region was unstable because of frequent attacks by its neighbors. Many of the people living in Jaiama were forced to flee in the wake of such raids, and hide in caves in the Nimini hills before migrating secretly northwards towards Koranko country. Jaiama thcn was one of the regions controlled by thc great Mende ruler, Nyagua.

When Ndawa , a professional warrior attacked the territories of Nyagua's fathcr in the Upper Mende region, Nyagua called for assistance from his Kono vassals. Matturi responded swiftly by mobilizing his Kono warriors on behalf of Nyagua. He was put in charge of all the fighting forces, and he carried out his task effectively, returning with spoils of victory for Nyagua. Nyagua rewarded Matturi by giving him all of Southern Kono and by promising to protect the region from enemy attacks.

With peace and stability in the region, those who had fled returned and Matturi urged his people to re-build the town. This move towards reconstruction was abruptly interrupted when Samori Toure's Sofa warriors attacked Kono in 1893 and occupied Tecuyama and Levuma. Matturi immediately informed Nyagua who, in turn reported to the Governor that his country had been invaded. However, by the time the British sent in their troops to repel the invaders, Matturi with the assistance of Nyagua had already succeeded in driving the Sofa warriors from Kono.

Matturis’ military success in defeating Samori Toures warriors greatly enhanced his reputation both among his subjects and the Freetown-based Colony Government. Thus, when the Protectorate was declared in 1896, Foamansa Matturi was crowned the first Paramount Chief of Jaiama Nimikoro.
During his rule, Foamansa Matturi initiated several development projects in his chiefdom, and the British authorities commended him for embarking on a road construction project linking Jaiama to the other main towns in the Kono District. Foamansa Matturi died at a ripe old age in 1936.

 

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