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The head teacher, Aliziki Nambi announced the closure of the school following a meeting with local leaders
The administration of UMEA Day and Boarding Primary School in Mpigi District in central Uganda has indefinitely closed the school following reports that there are demons haunting pupils.
Since Monday, some pupils have reportedly been unable to attend lessons complaining of strange illnesses which health workers in the area failed to diagnose.
The head teacher, Aliziki Nambi announced the closure of the school following a meeting with local leaders. “Since there have been no lessons for some days because pupils refused to go to their classes, I find it more necessary to send them back to their homes to give us time to resolve this problem,” she said on Friday.
On Thursday, about 50 pupils spent the whole day demonstrating and refused to attend classes.
The worrying situation is blamed on a graveyard adjacent to the school. Mr Moses Balyohere, a long-serving teacher at the school said some pupils presented signs of mental disorder, shouting and jumping, while others were physically weak.
“Two teachers including myself have also been affected by these evil spirits but we have sought the intervention of sheikhs to pray for the victims and the school to exorcise the demons,” he said.
One of the pupils claimed many of her colleagues, who were reportedly attacked by the demons became unconscious whenever they entered the mosque. “The demons were saying they were disturbed when a mosque was built in the area and they want it removed. They are also unhappy that a tree where they used to rest was cut down,” she said.
The district inspector of schools, Mr Gerald Katongole, said the school administration is yet to communicate to his office about what exactly happened. “I have been busy with the registration of Primary Seven candidates, I am sure the school administration will tell me what transpired,” he said Demon attack reports have become a common phenomenon in schools across the country with many pupils and students falling victims.
However, psychologists and doctors believe these are not demons, but effects of mass hysteria and convulsion disorders. 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. In June 2015, over 10 pupils of Nakawala Primary School in Mubende District went out of control and started chasing everybody including teachers and fellow pupils, pelting stones, banging doors and windows.
The school administration termed the incident as “demonic attacks” and invited a church leader to conduct special prayers for the pupils.