Saturday January 30 2010

Agony of a man whose genitals were cut off

IN PAIN: Mufumbya on his hospital bed in

IN PAIN: Mufumbya on his hospital bed in Mulago. PHOTO BY STEPHEN OTAGE 

By Christine Katende

Kampala
Flies and a horrid smell are what welcomes you when you enter GEN Surgical Ward 2B at Mulago Hospital. Wrapped in bedsheets and whimpering on the floor is Charles Mufumbya.

He is a patient like no other and his pain- overwhelming.
One Friday night, some strangers broke into Mr Mufumbya’s house in Kafuma village, Mpigi District and did the unthinkable: sliced off his genitals.
Now he cannot pass urine unaided.

At 36-years, he was yet to father a child but doctors now say he never will. His fate is sealed, prematurely and cruelly.
“I am in great pain, I cannot do anything for myself and neither can I even tell the people who did this horrible act to me,” he says, turning on his side with great difficulty. “I am too scared to stay like this the whole of my life.”

The attackers picked no property from Mr Mufumbya’s house but gouged out his right eye. The socket though stitched is hurting, he says. Villagers speculated that the attack bore the hallmarks of ritual practices. But Mr Mufumbya has no idea of the motive for the gruesome assault and remains clueless on the identity and whereabouts of the mastermind(s).

That fateful day, Lafaire Mbabaiye, an elder brother to the Mr Mufumbya who is attending to him at Mulago Hospital, said his brother was not feeling well.

He said Mufumbya had been down with fever and headache, a suspected malaria attack, and remained confined to his bed that Friday.

“I realised my brother was not feeling well as I returned from the burial of a villagemate,” Mr Mbabaiye narrates, looking exhausted and worried.

He came back in the evening and lit a bonfire on the porch of his brother’s house, principally to warm and chat him up. However upon entry into the house, all he saw of his brother was sorrow and frustration.

Mr Mufumbya was numb and coiled on the bed like a child. Fearing his condition had worsened, he decided to dress his brother and take him for clinical therapy.

Tragedy
It was then that he noticed the missing sexual organs and an eye. Health workers at Mpigi Hospital could not manage the condition and quickly referred him to Mulago where his handlers speak of slight improvement.

Dr Mary Nabukenya, the doctor who received the patient at the national referral medical facility said he was very “confused and incoherent” when brought to the hospital.
Yesterday, Mr Mufumbya had a vague recollection of what happened: A break-in into his home, overwhelming sleep and terrible pain the next day.
As detectives would later discovered, the attackers had sedated him with chloroform before chopping off and vanishing with his genitals and eyeball.

Heinous crime
He now passes urine through a catheter, attracting the sympathy of fellow patients. They have started scolding journalists streaming to the ward to do more than just report about Mr Mufumbya’s ordeal but also offer him financial help. He is indeed in a state of want.

Deputy Police spokesperson, Vincent Ssekatte said investigation into the “heinous crime” is underway but no arrests have been made.

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