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Harvest of deaths

Posted by By BUCHY ENYINNAYA, who was in Omoba on 2008/07/24 | Views: 1614 |

Harvest of deaths


Police authorities in Abia State are currently trying to unravel the cause of the mysterious deaths of 22 persons during a prayer and deliverance session held earlier this month at Umuolihe Alaoma, Omoba, headquarters of Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of the state.

Police authorities in Abia State are currently trying to unravel the cause of the mysterious deaths of 22 persons during a prayer and deliverance session held earlier this month at Umuolihe Alaoma, Omoba, headquarters of Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of the state.
Besides the dead, several participants at the July 11 prayer session are currently lying in a coma at the Abia State University Teaching Hospital, (ABSUTH), Aba where medical doctors are battling to bring them back to life.

The harvest of deaths, Daily Sun gathered, was at a prayer vigil organized at the new house of Mr. Martin Okereke Iheukwumere, a zonal co coordinator of the Deeper Life Bible Church. Iheukwumere and his wife have both remained unconscious since the day of the incident. Unconfirmed reports, however, said they have already passed on.

For the Iheukwumere family, it was an unquantifiable human loss. Among those that perished in the mysterious incident were Iheukwumere's three sons, five sisters and a brother. An in-law to the family, Chief Reuben Ebunine, also lost his wife and two sons.
A neighbour of the Iheukwumeres who wishes to remain anonymous said the prayer session was to ensure the family's deliverance from demonic powers said to have inhabited the compound for many years.

Daily Sun learnt that the liberation service for the entire family was conducted by Iheukwumere to open his newly built house. He reportedly invited some of his church members and a few friends to join him in the spiritual exercise.
Said the source: "It was a family affair, nobody knew about the prayers except those invited by the family. Even the leader of the prayer and deliverance session may have died in the process as no one has been able to identify the person since the incident."

According to the neighbour, hunger and suffocation could have been a factor in the tragedy.
"We heard that the people put their generator in the passage of the house, and it was emitting smoke throughout the time. The people might also have become hungry and tired after the prayer session. It is not impossible that they suffocated to death after inhaling the smoke from the generator. You should have seen the corpses when they were brought out through an aluminum window. We had to break the window before we were able to bring them out," the source stated.

One of the survivors, Mr. Linus Abba, told Daily Sun that he, alongside other participants, had accompanied the late Iheukwumere to his hometown for the prayer and deliverance session which, according to him began at about 11 pm and ended about 2.30 in the early hours of the following day, Saturday July 12.
He recalled that he had been visiting the toilet intermittently throughout the session until he suddenly noticed a cloud of white smoke in the house. "That was all I could remember until I woke up in the hospital," he said.

Touched by the scary news of the horrible incident, Deputy Governor of Abia state , Mr. Chris Akomas, visited the scene of the incident for a first-hand assessment. While commiserating with the victims and people of the area, Akomas pledged that the state government would leave no stone unturned until the mystery behind the harvest of deaths is unravelled.

At the Nneoma Hospital where the survivors are receiving medical attention, the deputy governor directed the state Commissioner for Health and Environment to liaise with the Isiala Ngwa South Council Chairman to fumigate the area to avoid an epidemic outbreak.
He commended the medical director of the hospital, Dr. Okey Uwah, for attending to the victims without demanding deposit, adding that the state government would pick up the medical bills.
Traditional ruler of Alaoma community, Eze John Onwukwe, said his community was confused by the mystery surrounding the death, even as he urged the government to provide security for lives and property of the residents.

Speaking on the incident, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in Abia State, Ibrahim Maishanu said an autopsy would be conducted on the corpses to ascertain the cause of the strange deaths.
An in-law to the Iheukwumere family, Chief Reuben Ebunine, who lost his wife and two children in the incident, told Daily Sun it would take him a long time to get over the shock.

His words: "I am completely tired. My children have told me not to talk again to the press, no matter the class of people who may come here. But I will talk briefly to you. I married the man's sister. My wife is his third sister and he had about six sisters. All of them died with the exception of Uloaku who is also in a coma as I'm talking to you now. My wife who is his sister died and my two children also died.

One of them, Amarachi, a final year public administration student in the university, also died. The man has one brother who died. His three sons also died. And there are several others who also died. About seven of the victims were later taken from Nneoma Hospital, Omoba, to the Abia State University Teaching Hospital, (ABSUTH) in Aba. Many of the victims have remained in coma since that day."

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