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‘It was the third time they gang-raped me’

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Gender Minister Mary Karooro Okurut talks to the 23-year-old gang-rape

Gender Minister Mary Karooro Okurut talks to the 23-year-old gang-rape victim at Mulago hospital yesterday. PHOTO BY RACHEL MABALA 

By Sarah Tumwebaze

Posted  Tuesday, October 15  2013 at  01:00
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Kampala- Lying in bed at Mulago hospital, the young woman cannot help but regret not listening to her instincts a year ago when she was approached by a Pakistani man with claims of a better-paying job. With a shaky voice, she tells her story.

“I was a waiteress at Savannah Bar and Restaurant in Kiwatule. There was a group of Pakistanis who frequented the restaurant. But on this fateful day, only one of them who identified himself as Zahil came.”
He asked if she could cook and wash for him for Shs150,000.

“At first, I was scared because this man wanted me to stay at his home. However, on second thought, I realised that I would be getting more money than what I was earning, so I accepted.”
For the first three days, everything went well. All she did was wash clothes and cook for her boss, who, it turned out, was living with two other men.

“But on the fourth day, when they were leaving, they locked me in the house. At 6pm they returned. When they entered, they locked the door and started speaking in their language.”

They later called her into a bedroom. When she got in, her boss walked out.
“The two other men locked me in the room, undressed me and started raping and sodomising me,” she says with tears forming in her eyes.

“I fought but they overpowered me. I shouted but no one came to my rescue. After they had finished, they moved out of the bedroom. Zahil came and just as the others had done, he pushed me onto the bed, sodomised and raped me.” However, the worst had not passed because a week later, she was sodomised and gang-raped by another group of five Pakistanis.
The same group came back four days later and gang-raped her again. But fortunately, on this day, one of them forgot the door keys on the sink. While she was washing the dishes at around 11pm she saw them, went to the door, opened it quietly and run away as fast as her legs could carry her.
“After realising that no one was following me, I started walking. I was wearing a pair of jeans and I had padded myself with clothes because I could not control the flow of my faeces and urine.”
After her escape, she managed to make it to her former workplace, where she was received warmly and given another chance to work. But even then, she had to keep to herself because of the stench that was coming out of her.

Meanwhile, she had to deal with the fear of being killed as Zahil kept threatening her and yet she did not want to tell anyone about her plight for fear of being ridiculed.
However, six months after the gang-rape and sodomisation, the pain she was going through became unbearable, forcing her to report the case to police.

This just fuelled more threats from Zahil, to the point that she once had to sleep at the police station for fear of her life but the state she was in forced the police officers to take her to Mulago, where she was discharged but later re-admitted.

However, when she was discharged, the second time round, she refused to go back home for fear of being killed.
“Someone called and told me that Zahil is a very dangerous man and he will not think twice about killing me.”
She adds: “Recently, another person called and told me to tell the journalists that all I said was not true because they were asking me in English, which I do not understand. I am living in a lot of fear. But all I want is justice and protection.”

Case file transferred over compromise

No chances. The file bearing the case against five Pakistanis who allegedly gang-raped the 23-year-old woman has been moved to the Regional Crime Investigation Department (CID) officer Kampala East.
Speaking to the Daily Monitor yesterday, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Mr Ibin Ssenkumbi, said: “The file was transferred on Friday for better management because there were allegations that it had been compromised at Kira Road Police Station.”
He adds, “It also proved not to be an ordinary file because it involved investors and therefore needed to be managed with care.”
Mr Ssenkumbi further confirms that the police had obtained the details of the suspects and believes they were still within the country, although they are still looking for them. He, however, said: “But if they have left, we shall work with Interpol to ensure that they are brought back. At the moment, we have two of the suspects in custody who will be presented to court tomorrow [October 15].”
Possible deportation. Meanwhile, he said the police were yet to confirm the claims that the suspects do not have substantial documents to allow them stay in the country after they have been arrested.

stumwebaze@ug.nationmedia.com