In Ivory Coast, the evil fetish was well contaminated


A real psychosis took hold of Kpo-Kahankro. In this Baoulé village of 2,000 souls, as there are so many on the road that connects Yamoussoukro to Bouaké, in the center of Côte d’Ivoire, evil struck twice, in December 2022 then in February, always during the night. Convulsions, vomiting, diarrhoea… Dozens of inhabitants are affected. According to the count of the village chief, twenty-one died – sixteen, according to the authorities. Mostly young children.

“We are told that it is over, but how do we know? It can come back in a month, or a week.”, worries Brou Elisabeth Angan, drying cashews on a tarpaulin. Standing, her husband, Kwamé Yéboué, counts the dead. This one lost a childhe said, pointing to a woman. We also had a death here. Two more there… »

“It started the night of December 2, around 3 a.m.remembers the old man while surveying the small village crushed by the sun. We came to wake us up because a young mother was calling her neighbors. She said that her child was unwell, that he was vomiting, that he was convulsing. » The doctor in a neighboring village can do nothing. The child dies in his sleep shortly after his return to Kpo-Kahankro.

Read also: In Côte d’Ivoire, children killed by a fetish for the villagers, by a bacterium for the authorities

In the village, the horror spreads: children and babies fall ill one after the other during the night. The symptoms are the same in every household. Thanks to a deputy who agrees to send them an ambulance, several villagers are transported to the Bouaké teaching hospital. Five of them will die there.

The first suspicions relate to an injection of vitamin A. “Community health workers had just injected the children, explain Brou Elisabeth Angan. We thought about it a lot, we said to ourselves that it could only be that. » But the village officials and the police are investigating, and the theory does not hold: two of the six victims had not received an injection.

At Christmas, the case seems to be over. The autopsies turned up nothing. And then the night of January 20 to 21, says Kwamé Yéboué, it started again. And this time it was worse. We had fifteen deaths. » The Bouaké University Hospital must dedicate an entire wing to the 40 patients of Kpo-Kahankro, the one formerly devoted to Covid-19.

Panic wins the population. Many flee. In the neighboring villages, the reception is hostile. Some were chasing us, plague the representative of the young people of Kpo-Kahankro, Paul Kouassi N’Guessan. They said we were going to contaminate them. » Crops and cashew fields are abandoned. “Our economy has suffered a lot,” reports Mr. N’Guessan, himself a market gardener.

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