By Ushang Ewa
5 children suspected to be between the ages of 2 and 17 have died under mysterious circumstances in Obanliku local government area some 350 kilometers north of the southern port city of Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
The children died within 6 hours on Wednesday, July 5, 2017 sources said in Old Ikwette village of Becheve political ward which houses the ‘Bottom Hill’ of the Obudu mountain resort popularly referred to as the Obudu Cattle Ranch or Obudu Ranch Resort.
They were residing in Amana, a peasant farming community located some 15 minutes away from Sankwala, the Obanliku local government area headquarters and had eaten cucumber from a nearby farm in the absence of their grandmother who had departed the previous day for a burial in a nearby community.
Upon her return, their grandmother had found them unconscious and raised alarm which attracted help from the neighbors and were rushed to a nearby clinic where one of the female child gave up the ghost upon arrival.
Two boys died two hours after around 10:00AM with another female dying about 4 hours after the first around 12 noon.
About an hour later, the fifth child also died forcing the community to investigate the remote cause of the deaths which after brief questioning of their great grandmother who had watched over them while their grandmother was away and neighbors; arrived at the conclusion that it was the cucumber which they ate that led to their death.
“The information of their death was too much for the old woman (great grandmother) to bear and she went into shock and died a few minutes later,” a driver who pleaded to be identified as Anake and plies the Obudu town – Sankwala – Obudu mountain resort route told CrossRiverWatch.
The 6 deaths forced the Amana community to evict the corpses and put a pronouncement that such should not be buried in the community as it was unheard of in the history of the community.
The children were then taken to their native old Ikwette for burial with their great grandmother to be buried at a later date.
Efforts by CrossRiverWatch to reach the mother of the deceased, Dorathy Agbor has proved abortive.
Police authorities in Obanliku say they are yet to be informed officially though the information has reached them and are confused on the action to take.
A Police officer, Corporal Betem Ushang (not actual name) residing in Obudu said it is not the position of the Divisional Police Officer to brief the press and pointed out that there was little the Police can do as the matter was strange.
However, he said that if the system were functional, the DPO will take the corpses in and an autopsy carried out “to ascertain the immediate and remote cause of their deaths and necessary actions such as arrests, questioning and subsequent prosecution of the suspects carried out.”
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, ASP Irene Ugbo’s line did not connect as at the time of filing this report.
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