A state in South Sudan is considering banning wrestling and shuttering video halls that show the spectacular, staged version of the sport after several boys were killed while imitating wrestlers they saw on television.
Pasqualla Akuei says his 13-year-old son, Deng Akuei, was accidentally killed a month ago after going to watch a professional wrestling match at a local video store.
"My boy seemed to have been attacked by the boys who bounced at him when they saw him getting close to the hall. They strangled him and killed him,” Akuei recalled.
Deng’s death is one of five wrestling-related deaths state officials have reported in Northern Bahr el Ghazal.
Residents of Maper-Akot in Aweil County, where two boys have reportedly been killed in wrestling accidents, gathered signatures for a petition calling on lawmakers to respond to the deaths.
Local lawmakers are mulling banning the sport and barring video halls from showing it, but some members of the state assembly are opposed to those moves, saying parents should instead prevent underage children from going to the video halls in the first place.