Kuranko in Sierra Leone

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Kuranko, also known as the Koranko, are a branch of the Malinke tribe that immigrated into Sierra Leone from Guinea. The Kuranko, therefore, occupy a large section in both northern Sierra Leone and southern Guinea. Within this geographical region, different dialects, as well as distinct social groupings, can be found.

The different groups each have their own chiefs, traditions, and heritage. Some are hunters, some are warriors, some are traders. Some are pagan, while others follow Islamic belief. Tribal mixing and cultural mixing characterize Kuranko history.

The Kuranko occupy a mountainous region within the northeastern Sierra Leone highlands, extending into Guinea. This region lacks adequate road systems and is not easily accessible, leaving the Kuranko socially isolated. This may explain why most have held on to their traditional culture and religion.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Kuranko are primarily farmers. Rice is the main crop cultivated, and the money made from it barely covers the expenses of the family. Supplementary crops include corn, cotton, potato, pumpkin, and indigo. Each household also owns fruit trees around the village, which produce bananas, papaya, coconuts, and other fruits.

Groundnuts are eaten by the Kuranko, but the highest source of protein comes from fish. Fishing is usually done by the women, who use skilled and innovative methods for securing their catch. Chickens are kept by every family, and are used for gifts.

Childhood for a boy or girl lasts until puberty. At this time, a ritual purification ceremony, called a biriye, ushers them into adulthood.

An adult is expected to show honor and respect for the customs of the Kuranko past. This may be demonstrated by joining various cult associations. The Gbansogoron ("cheek piercers") use self-inflicted pain as a way of showing bravery. The Segere is a women's cult that supports the rights of women.

Today, schooling has become a symbolic replacement for the cult system and initiation rituals. As literacy and educational opportunities increase, perhaps the power of the cult societies will decrease.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Less than one-third of the Kuranko in Sierra Leone are Muslim. The majority of the remaining Kuranko follow their traditional ethnic religion.

The Kuranko sometimes think of "the wild" as opposite to village life, and they use animal metaphors to identify evildoers. Someone without faith is likened to a dog; one who steals is as a monkey; and a traitor is as a snake. The Kuranko believe that certain people can change into animals to harm others. Certain animals, such as the vulture, the bat, and the black cat symbolize witchcraft.

The Kuranko believe that in the forests, the rivers, and the mountains live quasi-human beings known as Nyenne. These are "bush spirits," who are believed to influence Kuranko life in different ways.

The Nyenne are rarely seen but are somewhat feared. They are thought to live in the bush near the villages, and are said to live as humans: in houses with their families. A Kuranko will make a sacrifice to one of these Nyenne when clearing land for his farm. It is believed that the Nyenne can make women barren, cause insanity, and cause farming accidents. The Kuranko also believe that they can be friendly, bringing good fortune.

What Are Their Needs?

The Kuranko have the New Testament available to them. Unfortunately, however, only a small percentage of the Kuranko has become Christian.

There is a strong need for further evangelization into this socially isolated region.

Prayer is the first step toward seeing the Kuranko reached with the Gospel.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Kuranko in Sierra Leone.

* Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to missions agencies focusing on the Kurankos.
* Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth additional laborers to the Kuranko of Sierra Leone.
* Pray that God will give the Kuranko believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will break up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Pray that Christian radio broadcasts and evangelical literature will be made available to the Korankos.
* Pray for the effective use of the Jesus film in the Kuranko language.
* Ask the Lord to bring forth strong local churches among the Kurankos.

Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2012-02-19
Global Prayer Digest: 2015-02-27
People Name General Kuranko
People Name in Country Kuranko
Population this Country 429,000
Population all Countries 544,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 2  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 9
Alternate Names Koranko; Koronko; Kouranko
People ID 12872
ROP3 Code 105445
Country Sierra Leone
Region Africa, West and Central
Continent Africa
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Northern province: Kabala area.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Sierra Leone
Region Africa, West and Central
Continent Africa
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Northern province: Kabala area..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Language Kuranko
Language Code knk   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Kuranko
Language Code knk   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Kuranko

Primary Language:  Kuranko

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1899-1911)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1972)
Bible-Complete Yes  (2007-2008)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (Global Recordings Network)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (Faith Comes By Hearing)
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Kuranko
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
General Gospel resources links (Scripture Earth)
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file from Faith Comes By Hearing
Text / Printed Matter World Missionary Press Booklets
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
3.00 %
Ethnic Religions
67.00 %
0.00 %
30.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
10.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
60.0 %
Roman Catholic
30.0 %
Photo Source Anonymous 
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


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