ARUA. The Prime minister of Lugbara cultural institution ( Lugbara Kari) has appealed to the government to unlock Arua district saying her people are culturally tested and have options of response to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Arua district remains among West Nile districts which are still locked due to the Covid-19 pandemic, an action which has crippled businesses in a region which derives its livelihood on cross border trade.

West Nile region is surrounded by the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan whose Eastern and Southern regions predominantly depend of supplies from Uganda through West Nile region.

Mr Ismail Tuku said Lugbara cultural institution had her own ways of dealing with epidemics and pandemics for diseases like Measles, plagues smallpox, and Leprosy among others with minimal social economic harm to the communities.

Mr Ismail Tuku was speaking during a press briefing on Tuesday in Arua town.

The prime minister explained that the Lugbara people are historically children of a contagious disease survivor called ‘Ofunyaru’ (mother of the Lugbara people) who after meeting with her husband ‘Dribidu’ was treated using local herbs while in quarantine and self-isolation in a cave’ ‘Oji”.

After healing, the beauty of Ofunyaru’s glittering body attracted Dribidu to conjugate with her to produce the Lugbara people of today.

He disclosed that localized lockdown of families and homesteads instead of the indiscriminate lockdown of the entire clans of the Lugbara society was a better option.

Confirmed cases were further isolated individually in caves (Oji) with no visits allowed as the infected people were only accessible to sacrificial medical practitioners who themselves were isolated after contact with the sick for a period of time.

Tuku urged government to harness the potential of traditional medicine to attempt finding a lasting cure for Coronavirus using natural remedies as well as supporting local research for Ugandan medical professionals to find the cure.

“It should be noted that in the over 2000 years of our people’s existence, there has been no massive deaths of our people due to any epidemic or pandemic that warranted lockdown of entire society yet many were not devastating like Coronavirus”, he stressed.

He said looming hunger among people appears to be more devastating than coronavirus and called upon Lugbrara people to observe their spirit of humanity and culture by supporting one another during the pandemic.

“Hunger, starvation, domestic violence, family breakups, rising crime, trauma, breakdown in health, education and extension services delivery calls for government review of its current response strategy on Covid-19”, the prime minister said.

Tuku also revealed that some young Lugbara men formed in gangs are robbing women returning from markets through unconventional routes in a bid to dodge the 7: 00PM curfew, an act which is against the Lugbara culture and unexpected of the youth.

By press time, Uganda’s ministry of health had confirmed that Coronavirus cases had risen to 889.