16 persons, believed to be members of a local church in Dolo’s Town near Harbel in Margibi County were reported to have died days after they ate food prepared for them when they went to sympathize with a bereaved member.
The Pastor of the Holy Church of Christ in the township Reverend Brown Kanka, said the food was prepared by some members of the church while visiting with a council member of their church, Mardea Moyeah, who had lost her daughter. The church members had gone to sympathize with their council member for three days.
Rev. Kanka said one of the women who cooked the food, died along with her daughter after eating a portion of the food prepared at the assistant pastor’s residence. The church leader, who also ate food prepared at the residence for two days, was absence on the third day and therefore could not partake of the last dish..
According to him, he did not know who may have poisoned the food, adding that the situation had presented a very bad image on his ministry. “Some people in this area are throwing talks, saying that if anyone wants to die, they should visit the Holy Church of Christ because people are dying from the church,” he said.
The reverend made it clear that such a situation has never happened at his church, while accusing some government officials in the area of intervening out of fear of the Ebola virus. His assistant Pastor Victor Gbardea confirmed the food was prepared at his house, but he also did not partake in it on the last day. He said his two sons- ages 16 and 19, ate and died also, stressing that it took four days before his children started acting strange and couldn’t swallow or even drink.
Mardea Moyeah, the church member whose daughter funeral they were attending, said her daughter did not die of Ebola, but in child birth. Mardea said she did not have appetite to eat on the said day because of her daughter’s grieve, further noting that her son’s wife (name not disclosed) also died along with 15 others in the township.
Former Margibi County Superintendent Levi Piah also lost his sister from the same food incident because she had gone to sympathize with Mardea at the same church. Piah noted that when his sister was taken to the hospital, medical authorities discounted Ebola as the cause of death.
He, however, assured that the case would be pursued in order to get justice for the many lives that were lost in the area. Meanwhile, the Margibi County police authorities have begun investigation into the incident.