Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) were interrupted for close to two hours at Kiwawu Church of Uganda Primary School in Malangala Sub-County, Mityana District after it is suspected, demons attacked some candidates.
30 minutes after candidates had started writing their Mathematics exam, the pupils started to shout on top of their voices and run around the examination room. 10 out of the 85 candidates registered to do exams from the school were affected.
The ensuing chaos prompted the invigilators to call teachers who also sought the intervention of priests from the nearby Kiwawu Parish Church to pray for the victims. It is reported that since the beginning of the term, many of the school’s pupils have been unable to attend lessons complaining of a strange sickness which health workers failed to diagnose, leading to the closure of the school for some days.
Lessons only resumed on October 22 after parents hired traditional healers who told the school administration that he had exorcised the evil spirits. But last week, some pupils mostly in Primary Seven were “attacked” again and a priest from Kiwawu Parish Church tried to pray for them. The prayers ended prematurely as victims started fighting the priests.
The district leaders led by the Mityana District Resident Commissioner, Mr Kakooza Yahaya ordered that they take the victims to hospital which was done. They were, however, discharged on Saturday without any medication given to them as medics could not diagnose their sickness.
Rev Emmanuel Lukabwe, who led a group of priests, said they were directed by the bishop of Central Buganda Diocese Bishop Michael Lubowa to go and pray for the victims, but didn’t know what the candidates were suffering from.
“Our strong belief in prayer is what brought us here and thank God the victims got some relief and were able to continue with their exams,” he said.
Ms Harriet Naiga, the school head teacher said she was overwhelmed by the situation and doesn’t know what do next. “We have done everything, but our pupils have continued for fall sick,” she said.
“Demonic attacks” have of recent become a common phenomenon in schools and many pupils and students have fallen victim. However, psychologists and doctors believe these are not demons, but effects of mass hysteria and convulsion disorders. Learners usually dismiss this, insisting that they have genuine concerns.
Mass hysteria is the common term used to describe a situation in which various people all suffer from similar unexplained symptoms.
Hysterical contagion consists of a quick dissemination within a collection of people of a symptom, or a set of symptoms for which no physical explanation can be found.