Kasese, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A Family in Kasese district, together with the area COVID-19 task force have apologized to the medical fraternity in Bwera and Kasese for the recent attack on its COVID-19 burial team.
The fracas happened in Bunyiswa, Bwera Sub County, during the burial of a 54-year-old resident identified as Bwambale Franco Kabwangana, who died from Mayanja Memorial Hospital where he had been referred with hypertension and signs of stroke, and later tested positive to COVID-19.
However, his burial became rowdy when the crowd stopped the team from lowering the casket into the grave and instead took it back to the house for public viewing in contravention of agreed COVID-19 burial protocols. Before this, the community demanded to confirm if the coffin indeed contained Kabwangana’s remains.
The police fired live bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowds before the body was later buried. Now, both the family and the task force have condemned the accident blaming it on unruly persons who could have had selfish motives.
Immaculate Masika, a daughter of the deceased says the incident was not planned by the family and it’s regrettable. Masika who was with the father during his last moments on earth said they were guided on the burial procedures but were taken by surprise when a group of residents went to the graveyard and picked up the body from the burial team.
She also disregarded rumours that the coffin was empty.
Gregory Kombi, the LCIII chairperson of Bwera Sub County says the situation was initiated by the large crowd and rumours that Kabwangana had not succumbed to COVID-19.
Rwenzori East Regional Police Commander Samuel Asiimwe said they had an interaction with family members of the deceased and confirmed that their relative was buried. The RPC however warned the community against speculations that could derail the efforts in the fight against COVID-19.
The Deputy RDC Joseph Masereka says the hooliganism exhibited during the burial could discourage the medical experts from ensuring that the community is safe from infections. He says it’s unfortunate that the community is still disregarding medical advice when coronavirus cases in the district are rising.
Masereka, who was last week declared dead on social media, criticised media users of being unethical in their communication.
Dr Loyce Kabyanga, the Deputy Medical Superintendent and head of COVID-19 case management at Bwera General Hospital said they had made proper burial arrangements with the family but her team was taken by surprise by the community who threatened to lynch them if they did not desert the burial grounds.
Kasese District has recorded more than 160 COVID-19 cases in the last three weeks with four deaths.