Apam, the District capital of Gomoa West in the Central Region was thrown into a state of mourning yesterday when the thirteen children who got drowned on March 7, 2021 were laid to rest.
The burial was preceded by traditional rites on Monday to pacify the gods to avert any such future occurrence.
One cow, three sheep, 12 fowls, 33 tubers of yam, and three cartons of schnapps were offered to the gods by a traditional priest on Monday, March 15, 2021.
The pre-burial service which took place at St. Luke Catholic Hospital Park at Apam saw hundreds of friends and sympathizers throng the venue to bid farewell to the victims.
High powered government officials led by, Mavis Hawa Koomson, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture and Central Regional Minister Justina Marigold Assan were at the funeral that saw tears flow for the victims, aged between 14 and 17,
Delivering the sermon, Reverend Father Derek Felix Kwesi Acquah of the Apam Catholic Church, urged the public not to despair believing that the deceased were resting in the bosom of the Lord.
Using the life of the biblical Job, he said death was inevitable and a blessing to all Christians.
He urged all to remain committed and dedicated to the work of God by renewing their faith in the Lord.
The victims reportedly used an illegal route to the sea to evade fisher folks at the beach before getting to the other side of the beach to swim.
Although there is a nationwide ban on activities at the beach due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the children managed to mobilise themselves to swim on that day on the blind side of the police and fishermen.
They are: Isaac Effisah, Ebenezer Quansah; Kingbert Addison; Gilbert Essandor; Sarah Mensah and Prince Peprah, Nyamekye.
The rest are: Benjamin Narh; Christopher Ewusi; Kwesi Saarah Bentil; Eric Kwaku Arthur; Joshua Hammond and John Arthur.
The body of another victim is yet to be claimed by the parents for the burial.
The bodies of two females have also been retrieved from along the coast of Gomoa Abrekum, Gomoa Mankoadze and Apam.
Mavis Hawa Koomson, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture on behalf of President Akufo-Addo donated GH₵10,000 to each family of the deceased children and GH₵5,000 to the two surviving children.
She said parents must take a cue from the incident and be minded about the safety and whereabouts of their children at all times.
Earlier, Nana Akufo-Addo though the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture supported the chiefs and elders of Apam and the families of the children with an amount of ¢36,000.
Central Regional Minister Justina Marigold Assan in a message said President Nana Addo Dankwa is saddened by the turn of events and that he is with the bereaved family in their moments of sorrow.
She stated that having been officially assigned as the regional minister, it is unfortunate for her to begin her tenure with such a sad event.
Speaking on behalf of the Gomoa Akeampim Traditional Council, Nana Essel Botwe, Queen Mother of Apam, allayed the lingering fears of the untimely death of the teenagers, saying all the necessary traditional rites had been performed to pave the way for the children to be buried.
“The customary rites to pacify the gods had been performed at a sacred location to appease the gods and prevent further occurrence of such tragedy, which had thrown the town into an area of mourning,” she said.
However, she refuted claimed been circulated on social media that the victims went to the beach to have sex and urged all to treat it with the contempt it deserves.
A preliminary report by the police indicates that while the children were swimming, a heavy tidal wind blew, which got them drowned and their bodies carried away.
A Good Samaritan raised the alarm and two of the children who were also in the sea were rescued and rushed to the St Luke Catholic Hospital to receive medical attention.
A search party immediately jumped into the sea in an attempt to retrieve the bodies throughout the night but it was unsuccessful and had to retire.
Source: Kofi Yirenky