Scores injured in Fire Festival magical fiasco

Scores of people have sustained varying degrees of injuries following an impotent attempt to showcase their magical prowess during the Fire Festival organised in Dagbon on Monday.

One person is in critical condition Joy News’ Hashmin Mohammed reported Tuesday.

The injuries, which were sustained from gunshots and cutlasses, came about when the victims decided to showcase the potency of their magical powers.

They had asked celebrants to either shoot live ammunition at them or slash them with machetes but their powers failed them when they needed it most.

Hashmin Mohammed said this is not the first time injuries like this have been recorded.

He stated that every year reports of similar injuries are recorded during the fire festival.

Chief Sahana Abdul Latif of Dagbon told Joy News it is people’s misunderstanding of the festival that results in such unfortunate injuries.

He explained the fire festival is like the new year in the Dagbon or islamic calendar which has a religious connotation.

He said the festival is “a special day. We make sacrifices to ancestral gods and to renew potency of magical prowess.”

He was quick to add that people are not to go to the extent of trying their potency on each other.

“You can’t ask a colleague to fire at you,” he cautioned, adding, there are so many ways of proving that potency.

“When it is working you can see it during your sleep,” he pointed out.

“Those who are hurting themselves are not celebrating the festival the way it has to be celebrated…Guns and cutlasses are not expected to be taken to the festival ground,” he warned.

Dr. Anam Zoya, senior lecturer at the University of Ghana attributed the casualties to the “negation of powers” by contending parties.

While admitting that the showcase of magical powers has become a part of the festival, he said steps must be taken to forbid people from carrying live ammunition to the festival.

The fire festival, Bugum Chugu, is the first festival celebrated in the Dagbon new year. It has been characterised, over the years, by tests of magical (spiritual) protection, in which celebrants challenge each other to attack them with live weapons.

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