60 Gulu residents hospitalised after taking poisoned water

Wednesday March 21 2012

By David Livingstone Okumu

Mike Macayo, 44, a resident of Otodo Village in Odek Sub-county recently went to collect water from a well, what he discovered shocked him.

Several dead frogs and flies were floating on the water.

“I did not fetch it, only to hear my uncle was in a coma at home after drinking water from the well,” he said.

Macayo’s uncle, whose name could not be established, was one of the 60 people who became sick after drinking water from poisoned water sources in Odek Sub-county last week.

They were taken to Lalogi Health Centre IV where 32 of them were discharged recently.

The rest are still receiving treatment at the health facility.

The officer in-charge of the health centre, Mr Selestino Olango, said: “The patients showed signs of throat complication, stomach ache and vomiting.”

However, the District Engineer, Mr Andrew Olal Obong, who hails from Odek, said those discharged from the health facility have not fully recovered.

“They are still vomiting and they complain of stomach problems,” Mr Olal said.

A district health official, Mr Selestino Ojok, said they had taken blood samples of the victims to the government laboratory in Kampala for testing and are waiting for results.

“We confirm the report of water poisoning and we are doing everything to save their lives,” Mr Ojok said.

Mr John Bosco Ozele, the officer in-charge of crime at Gulu Central Police Station, said they have received instructions from district authorities to cordon off several streams and wells in Orapwoyo Village in Binya Parish, Odek Sub-county and Kidobo Parish in Lalogi Sub-county.

“The streams should be cordoned off from animals and people because the water contains dangerous poison,” a police officer who preferred anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the press on the matter, said.
The district police chief, Mr Denis Odoch, warned people against speculating about the possible sources of the poison.

Investigations are ongoing. No one has yet been arrested in connection with the incident.