A 19-year-old boy on Monday drowned in River Densu at Akwadum in the New Juaben Municipality of the Eastern Region over a supposed swimming contest for a prize of GH¢120.
In an interview, Ayamba’s mother, Mariama Ayamba, narrated that her son and two other friends were reported to have engaged in a gamble over who among them could swim faster across River Densu which had broken its banks.
She said, the young men, with focus on the GH¢120 prize, dived from the top of the bridge that links Suhum to New Juaben into the River.
“My son failed to return after a third round and people came to inform me about it; we immediately poured libation to enable swimmers search for him. His two friends and other youth in the area also made frantic search for him but could not find him,” she said.
Day two of search
On Tuesday morning when Graphic got to the community, a new search had started after the family members reported the incident to the Densu priest and chief of the town who demanded GH¢900, a bottle of schnapps, a gallon of local gin, red chili pepper, and Ga kenkey to do some rituals to enable a successful search.
The rituals were done for the local search party; but after several hours of search, they came back unsuccessful.
The residents of the Akwadum community, forming a thick crowd, stayed at the bank of the river with the devastated family members of the victim for over eight hours of unsuccessful search.
In the course of the search, a preacher came to the scene, preaching that the people of Akwadum should repent from their “evil ways”, alleging that “sin” had engulfed the community, hence the calamity.
Just immediately, a Rastafarian by name Nana Afrifa Brambram, who claimed to be a fetish priest, also came around to help retrieve the body of the boy through his fetish antics.
He requested for a bottle of schnapps and two fowls, which he slaughtered and sprinkled its blood into the river but all his efforts yielded no result; a situation that made the community members to hoot at him and forced him to refund the cost of the fowls.
Another fetish priest from Koforidua called Francis Odoi also came and requested for a duck from the missing boy’s parents and a bottle of schnapps. He as well slaughtered the duck and sprinkled its blood into the river. This angered the priestess of the River Densu who came saying the River was angry over the splitting of blood into it.
The priestess also said she had to pacify the River god with a bottle of schnapps, which the boy’s mother purchased. She then sprinkled the alcohol on the river and placed a two cedi note on the water surface. But before the priestess could finish praying, a drunkard came from nowhere to pick the money from the water.
This created a scene of hilarious laughter among some sections of the crowd while others too got annoyed over the drunkard’s behaviour.
The Dwantoahene of Akwadum, Nana Kwaku Sarpong, told Graphic Online that elders of the community had on several occasions warned the youth to desist from swimming in River Densu and gambling but they would not heed.
“We have warned them but they think we are old fashioned. On rainy seasons, we usually advise them not to go swimming in the river but they are stubborn, they will not listen; now see what has happened,” he said.
Police and NADMO visit
A team from the Effiduase District Police command led by the Commander, ASP Daniel Yaro, the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and the fire service in New Juaben were also present at the river bank to assist and also cautioned the residents not to go near the River.