Domestic related suicide cases overwhelm Nwoya

Mr John Bosco Okullo, the Koch-Goma Sub-county Chairman in Nwoya District.

Authorities in Koch Goma Sub-county, Nwoya District are overwhelmed by the big number of suicide cases recorded in the area.

Mr John Bosco Okullo, the Sub-county Chairman, told this website that the area has so far recorded more than 10 suicide cases in less than five months, being exact that from January to yesterday (Monday), May 10, 2021, Koch Goma sub-county had registered 13 such cases.

The politician attributes the incident to marital violence including fights, quarrels and marriage breakages like separation in relationships and poverty.

“At times one is forced to commit suicide upon failing to bow to family pressure in meeting the responsibility,” said Mr Okullo.

The most recent suicide case is thought to have taken place on 9 this month, in Ocaga ward, Koch Goma town council when a man in his 60s reportedly clad in tattered black trousers and a jumper was found hanging dead in a tree.

According to Mr Okullo, the deceased was on Saturday 8, this month, sighted along Koch Goma- Anaka town council Road carrying some of his clothes before the incident.

“When you look at the body of the deceased, you will realise that he could have been struck hard by poverty because he carried all his belongings majorly clothes that were all rags,” he said.

By press time, the body was still at the scene as the local authorities tried to trace for the deceased’s relatives.

“We shall consider burying the body in case relatives fail to come because it is now smelling and giving hard time to the surrounding community,” the chairman said.

Audio: Okullo on suicide (English)

Persistent cases of suicide in a cultural perspective

Mr Okullo believes and attributes the proliferating suicide cases being recorded in the area to undervaluing and failing to adhere to the traditional practice of handling the act.

In Acholi culture, a house or tree in which one commits suicide is demolished; and uprooted and burned immediately respectively.

The chairman notes that such a practice is slowly dying as many now opt for the western culture and ignore the traditional practice in handling suicide cases.

He urges and advises the Acholi people to return to their traditional cultural roots and practices that salvage them from queer eventualities.

“It is high time stakeholders and religious leaders came together and got back to the traditional mechanism of handling suicide incidents in the Acholi sub-region for such incidents to minimise” Mr Okullo observes.

Organisational intervention

After realising that suicide cases were rampant, in 2016, THRIVE Gulu, a non-profit making organisation intervened to help reduce such incidents in Koch Goma sub- county, Nwoya district.

The organisation has been assisting the region through healing from the traumatic event of Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) war, engaging the community in Koch Goma sub-county through sensitisation about ways of handling such people when they presented signs of suicide.

In June 2018, Handle Uganda, a non-governmental organisation donated 30 bicycles to role model men in Koch Goma sub-county to help fight Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the area.

Mr Walter Odur, the Project Officer for Handle Uganda said the role model men were being used to sensitise their fellow men about managing GBV cases.

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