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Bo, Sierra Leone

Related subjects: Africa; Cities

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Bo, Sierra Leone is located in Sierra Leone
Location in Sierra Leone
Coordinates: 7°57′23″N 11°44′24″W
Country  Sierra Leone
Province Southern Province
District Bo District
 •  Mayor Wusu Sannoh ( SLPP)
Population (Current estimate)
 • Total 215,474
  current estimate
Time zone GMT ( UTC-5)
Satellite view of Bo ( Landsat image viewed using NASA World Wind software)

Bo is the second largest city in Sierra Leone (after the capital, Freetown) and the largest city in southeastern Sierra Leone. The city is located in the Southern Province and lies 155 miles (249 km) (by road) south-east of Freetown. The city serve as the capital and administrative centre of Bo District. After Freetown, Bo is the leading educational, transportational, commercial and cultural centre of Sierra Leone, with a current population of 215,474 .

The population of the city is ethnically and culturally diverse. The city is home to a significant number of virtually all of the country's ethnic group, though the Mende people make up the largest ethnic group. Like in virtually all parts of Sierra Leone, the Krio language is the most widely spoken language in Bo and is used as the primary language of communication in the city.

The city is the primary home of Njala University, the second largest university in Sierra Leone, after the Fourah Bay College in Freetown. The city is home to the Christ the King College, one of the most prominent colleges in Sierra Leone. Bo is also home to the The Bo Government Secondary School (commonly known as Bo School), which is one of the biggest and most prominent secondary schools in Sierra Leone. The school not only attract students from all parts of Sierra Leone, but also attract international students from other West African nations. The school has a history of producing some of Sierra Leon's most gifted students, including some of the country's senior politicians.


Centrally located, Bo lies on the main rail line east and south of Freetown which was closed in 1974. From 1930 until independence 1961, it was the capital of the Protectorate of Sierra Leone. The city is the administrative centre of the Southern Province. After Freetown, Bo is the leading transportation, commercial, and educational center of Sierra Leone. Bo began its modern development with the coming of the railroad in 1889 and became an educational centre in 1906, when the Bo Government Secondary School was established.

The inhabitants of Bo are known for their resolve, resistance and hospitality. The town was named after its generosity. An elephant was killed close to what is now known as Bo Parking Ground. People from the surrounding villages came to receive their share. Because the meat was so large, the hunter spent days distributing it and the words "Bo- lor" (which in Mende language means "this is yours," with reference to the meat) was said so much that the elders and visitors decided to name the place Bo. "Bo-lor" in Mende also translates to "this is Bo."


The city of Bo is governed with a city council form of government, which is headed by a mayor, in whom executive authority is vested. The mayor is responsible for the general management of the city and for seeing that all laws are enforced. The mayor is elected directly by the people of Bo. The current mayor of Bo is Wusu Sannoh, he is a member of the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP). The city and the entire Bo District is a stronghold of the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party. In the second round of the 2007 Sierra Leone presidential election, the incumbent vice president of Sierra Leone Solomon Berewa and candidate of the then ruling SLPP party got 67% of the vote in Bo District, while the leader of the main opposition party and current president of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People's Congress (APC) got 30% of the vote in the second round in the district.

Geography and climate

Like the rest of Sierra Leone, Bo has a tropical climate with a rainy season from May to October and a dry season from November to April. Average annual precipitation varies from 5,080 mm (200 inches). The prevailing winds are the SW Monsoon during the wet season and the northeastern Harmattan which is a dust laden wind from the Sahara Desert during the dry season. Average temperature ranges in Bo are from 21 degrees Celsius (73 degrees Fahrenheit) to 31 degrees Celsius (88 degrees Fahrenheit) all year.


In 1981 Bo District formed 'One World Link' (OWL) (see UKOWLA) with Warwick District and Leamington Spa in the UK. This was inspired by a desire for justice, equality, human understanding and mutual support. Over the years it has helped to strengthen both communities and their awareness of global and development issues. The many outcomes of the link include women's groups, school links, an online archive, an education programme and the opening, in 2008, of a Community Centre in Bo city. Immediate plans include collaboration on a pilot environmental programme for the collection and disposal of waste. There is also a youth wing which has 20 registered youth groups, that serve over 1000 young people.

The Bo District Development Association (BODDA - UK) was formed in the United Kingdom on 7th September 2003 by a group of natives from Bo District in Sierra Leone. The primary purpose for the formation of this organization is for its membership to explore every possible lawful avenue to solicit generous donations in cash, food, clothing, educational and agricultural.

Bo District Development Association (BODDA - UK)has been involved in various projects including sponsorships in Sierra Leone and the UK e.g.Introduction of the BODDA Civic Award - in which the people of Bo are annually awarded for their contributions towards Nation building and Community Development (this is an effort to encourage the people of Bo in national development and citizenship; Donation of two hundred computers and other School materials to various Schools in Bo in 2007; Donation of medical equipments to the Bo Government Hospital and books to the Bo Regional library in January 2010; In August 2006 in partnership with the British Council Sierra Leone, They were able to facilitate a one month tour for six artists from Bo with the aim to promote awareness of global issues through music and encourage global citizenship through the linking of youth groups in the UK and Sierra Leone.

The Organisation also award scholarship to students from poor family background who are unable to meet their educational needs. You can visit BODDA - UK website on


Like in virtually all parts of Sierra Leone, the Krio language is widely spoken in the city Bo, although English is the official language spoken at schools and government places. Bo has one of the highest literacy rates in Sierra Leone. The city is home to many primary schools as well as several secondary schools, including one of the elite secondary schools in West Africa, the The Bo Government Secondary School (commonly known as Bo School). The school was founded in 1906 by British educationist Leslie Probyn to educate the children of Bo Town. The school has a long history of producing the elite of Sierra Leone, especially the country's top politicians.

Bo School is sited on 13.5 acres (55,000 m2) of land in the heart of Bo Town. The school itself is situated in pleasant surroundings and within walking distance of the government hospital, government post office, police station, and the main shopping centre of Bo Town.

A football field, volleyball court, basketball court, long tennis court, and cricket pitch enrich the recreational facilities the school provides. There are plans to rehabilitate the school swimming pool.

Bo School also maintains a unique tradition of seniority which has consistently augured well for social cohesion among the students. Maggots/Greeners/Rustics are either junior or newer members of the school (specifically those with more recent admission numbers). They are expected to always observe all rules of deference association with their positions and comply fully with specific instructions from senior students.

Notable Secondary Schools in Bo

  • Christ the king College secondary school.
  • Bo Government Secondary School
  • Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School
  • Queen of the Rosary Secondary School
  • Comprehensive Secondary School
  • St. Andrews Secondary School
  • Bo Commercial Secondary school
  • SLMB Secondary School
  • St. Pauls Junior Secondary School


Like the rest of Sierra Leone, football is the most popular sport in the city. Bo has two football clubs in the Sierra Leone National Premier League, Bo Rangers, and Nepean Stars. Both clubs play their home games at the Bo Stadium. Another club from Bo Town called the Kakua Rangers plays in the Sierra Leone National First Division, the second highest football league in Sierra Leone, after the Sierra Leone National Premier League. There are several clubs from Bo Town in the lower divisions of Sierra Leone league system.


Since the end of the civil war in 2002, there has been an increase in homicide, armed robbery, home invasion and carjacking in Bo Town. Petty crime and pick pocketing of wallets, cell phones, and passports are very common in the city. Over the past year, criminal exploits have become more aggressive. Increasingly operating in numbers and while heavily armed. Like in most West African countries, local criminals target expatriates due to their perceived wealth.


Bo has an ethnically diverse population, although the Mende make up the majority. The city is home to all of the country's ethnic groups as well as a large Liberian community. Bo is home to large groups of Muslims and Christians.

Bo Airport

Bo Airport serves the Bo District and the Southern Province. There are regular connections from Bo to Freetown, and other major cities in the country.

Notable people from Bo

  • Julius Maada Bio, former Head of State of Sierra Leone
  • Prince Harding, Sierra Leone's minister of Transportation from 2002-2007
  • Julius Gibrilla Woobay, Sierra Leonean football star
  • Nabih Berri, speaker of Lebanese parliament
  • Joe Robert Pemagbi, Sierra Leone ambassador to the United Nation
  • Kanja Ibrahim Sesay, Financial Secretary of Bo District Students Union and Secretary General of the Fourah Bay College Students Union
  • Morris Kallon, former Sierra Leonean rebel military commander of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF).
  • Wusu Sannoh, mayor of Bo
  • Aluspah Brewah, Sierra Leonean football star
  • Lamin Massaquoi,Sierra Leonean football star
  • Emerson Samba, Sierra Leonean football star
  • Julius Gibrilla Woobay, Sierra Leonean football star
  • Sallieu Bundu, Sierra Leonean football star


There are other towns in Sierra Leone with the same name.

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