Time check 9.45pm Thursday, darkness filled with distant screams covered Lira town, a lively Lango principal trade centre as locals banged their doors, saucepans and jerrycans in a desperate attempt to scare away coronavirus.
Children ran around hitting saucepans and drums, as women threw their doors open, shouting and crying, the noise reaching far as more joined in.
Security operatives enforcing the 14-day curfew were left perplexed as the banging of drums, jerrycans and saucepans erupted almost everywhere across Lango sub region in a traditional ritual to kick out “the devil pandemic”.
Two enforcers seemingly familiar with the ritual could be heard telling a friend that, “that is our culture. It was necessary to carry out gato two ideke” – scaring aware the devil pandemic.
This time, the devil pandemic was COVID-19, which has so far infested 48 people in Uganda.
“My son told me in his little voice ‘mum I’m so scared’. I explained to him what it means to our tradition and he later joined as well,” Ms Obich Awio, one of the residents told this reporter.