Ray Bande Senior Reporter
A UNITED Baptist Church (UBC) cleric and four teachers at Biriiri High School in Chimanimani District were named as architects of satanic acts bedevilling the school as female students at the institution continue suffering from a mysterious ailment that leaves them with painful, swollen and shivering legs.
Since the beginning of last term, female students at Biriiri High have been suffering from a strange disease in which their legs suddenly start shivering. The names of the five (the UBC cleric and four teachers) were uttered by a student who was undergoing deliverance on Sunday afternoon.
Five of the 28 affected girls were delivered by members of an apostolic sect who forced their way into the school premises on Sunday with the help of local traditional leadership against the will of the responsible authority – UBC.
It was during the deliverance rituals at Biriiri High School Hall, which The Weekender witnessed, that one of the girls uttered the names of the UBC cleric and four senior teachers.
In an interview, Acting Chief Saurombe, Chief Raymond Saurombe, said he had no choice, but to intervene for the good of the suffering female students. The acting chief had no kind words for the Biriiri High administration, accusing them of not co-operating in search of lasting solutions for the problem that the school faced.
“We had a problem at this school which started at the beginning of last term. The issue was kept under wraps until when the schools were closed last term. They took the affected children to Mutambara Mission Hospital and Biriiri Clinic, but medical practitioners would not detect any ailment.
“I was then made aware of the problem sometime this term and I summoned the SDC as well as school authorities about three weeks ago. The SDC told me that they had written a letter to the responsible authority (UBC), but they did not get any response.
“I asked Ziyomo (Biriiri High Station Head) why they had remained mum while girls were suffering at the school. He said he had told the head office and had not received any feedback.
“This is the reason why I decided to intervene and help these children. The responsible authority has not been co-operating at all. They have finally said they will come on Tuesday, but I decided that I cannot wait for Tuesday while these girls continue suffering,” said Acting Chief Saurombe. He confirmed that some children were not being allowed to go out of their dormitories.
“This is a sad situation wherein children are being detained and discriminated against like lepers in the biblical times. When I came here there were two girls who were in the dormitories and were not being allowed to go out. It is sad.
“Information that I have is that there is a total of 28 girls affected. We have these five here being assisted because we have the consent of their parents,” he said. The traditional leader had a message on his mobile sent by a parent of one of affected students.
‘Maswera sei Mambo, ndini mai va (name withdrawn) vari kuti mwana wangu aivharirwa mudorm, haana kunyora Fashion, Commerce, Geography ne Heritage, nezuro (last Friday) mwana akanzi namatron asabuda panze hanzi anozotinyadzisa,” read a text message from a parent who has since taken her child for treatment.
After witnessing the deliverance rituals at Biriiri High School Hall, The Weekender approached Station Head Reverend Ziyome, who was seated at the school administration offices, visibly disturbed by the goings-on at the school hall.
He said: “Our church does not subscribe to what is going on in the hall and for that reason I cannot comment. This is virtually the chief’s programme and he is the one you can talk to. I cannot comment on anything. If you want, I can give you the Secretary-General’s number so that maybe he can comment, not me,” said Mr Ziyome.
Repeated efforts to get a comment from the Secretary-General, Mr Innocent Dube, were fruitless as his mobile phone was unreachable. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in October barred an apostolic sect that wanted to conduct a cleansing ceremony at Biriiri High School following earlier reports of the strange ailment. Biriiri High School is run by the United Baptist Church.