River Oti canoe disaster … survivors, head teacher to receive psychological support

A team of clinical experts had arrived in the Saboba District of the Northern Region to give trauma assistance to survivors and parents, following disaster in which nine children drowned, when a canoe capsized on River Oti, last Friday.

The team, made up of personnel of the Police Counselling Unit (PCU) and the Ghana Psychological Association, left Accra on Sunday, and expected to spend five days in the region.

They would offer psychological support to the head teacher (suspect), families who lost their relatives, survivors and teachers, so that they can overcome the trauma suffered in view of the tragedy.

The Director of the PCU of the Ghana Police Service, Assistant Commissioner of Police, (Dr) Phyllis Ama Tebuah Osei, disclosed these to the Ghanaian Times, in Accra yesterday, said officials of Ghana Education Servicewould support the team carry out its work.

Additionally, the Ghanaian Timesgathered that the crime scene expert from the Ghana Police Service would also visit the scene as part of investigations.

It would be recalled that in Monday, November 15, 2021 issue of the Ghanaian Times, that the head teacher of St. Charles Lwanga Junior High School (JHS) in the Saboba District, Mr Emmanuel Chenjah, has been placed in police custody after he reported to the security personnel, on Saturday.

His detention was in connection with the drowning of nine school children who were on board the canoe that capsized on River Oti.

The pupils were returning from the farm of the head teacher of the JHS when the disaster occurred on the upper course of the river.

The pupils were among 31 others who were asked by the head teacher to harvest rice on his farm, late last Friday.

The Northern Regional Crime Officer, Superintendent (Supt.) Baba B. Ananga, in an interview with the Ghanaian Times, said the police were currently “working on how to stabilise the traumatised head teacher,” before taking him to court.

Supt. Ananga indicated that the head teacher was still traumatised over the incident and other related issues.

The crime officer said that the police would commence investigation into the case “immediately he is stabilised.”

Supt. Ananga said the bodies had been deposited at the Saboba Government Hospital morgue.

The whole community was thrown into shock and agony as residents grieved and wailed over the accident.

Mrs Diana Wajah, resident of Saboba, in a telephone interview with the Ghanaian Times, on Sunday, said people in the area were yet to come to terms with the canoe disaster.

BY ANITA NYARKO-YIRENKYI

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