Kampala. Ms Haddijja Nakalema, 25, from Bulenga on Kampala-Hoima road, sobs uncontrollably as she raises her blouse to show the scars on her stomach.
“I don’t know how I am going to manage what I am going through,” she says.
Ms Nakalema has since abandoned her businesses from which she earned about Shs45,000 daily to fend for her child and mother.
She can no longer lift anything heavy neither undertake any serious task after she was injured by a stray bullet in the stomach and operated on at Mengo Hospital in Kampala.
How it happened
On the night of March 19, gunshots rang outside and Ms Nakalema suddenly felt a sharp pain in the stomach. She shouted out to her mother, Ms Bikaaleta Namubiru, with whom she lived, to help her.
Ms Namubiru says when she rushed to Nakalema’s room, she found her daughter crawling on the ground, writhing in pain.
She thought the pain was a result of the child birth Nakalema had recently undergone. She quickly made some local concoctions and administered it to her, but this did not change anything.
“I carried her on my back to a nearby hospital where they referred us to a bigger hospital as her condition was not improving. I called a boda boda cyclist who took us to Mengo hospital,” Ms Namubiru narrates.
Upon reaching the hospital, she was almost thrown out because she didn’t have the Shs8,000 for consultation and another Shs44,600 for the scan to see what had happened to her daughter’s stomach.
“I solicited money from a friend and she was operated on,” Ms Namubiru says.
It was not until the doctors brought back the results from the theatre that it dawned on Ms Namubiru that her daughter had a bullet lodged in her stomach.
It was then that Ms Namubiru began to add up events of the sounds of bullets that night.
“I feared the bullets I had heard the previous night could have ended in my daughter’s stomach,” she says.
Despite police’s promise to establish where the bullet could have come from and have the perpetuators pay for their actions, nothing has yielded any fruit.
Ms Namubiru reported the case to Bulenga Police Post before going to Wakiso Police Headquarters.
She was castigated for reporting the matter after 12 hours and was promised a follow up.
“Up to now, nothing has been done. They located the hole in the roof where the bullet passed, and said they were going to establish the culprits and implicate them,” Ms Namubiru says.
The family is still struggling with the big debt incurred, yet the complication after the surgery requires that they return to the hospital for a review.
“We used about Shs2.5m. This doesn’t include other smaller expenses but the wound still has issues,” Ms Namubiru says.
“We want to know who did it such that they can help with the big debt that we have and the further review of the patient,” she adds.
Ms Nakalema says whenever she eats, the pain worsens.
Mr Charles Mubiru, a resident of the area, says the whole village is in shock why no further investigations were conducted.
“We are wondering what is wrong with our country. How can justice fail to prevail for the underprivileged? We are shocked that this family has not been helped by the police,” Mr Mubiru says.
Neighbours who heard the bullets say they could have been fired from a nearby storied building. The police report also indicates that the bullet was fired from a high level and it came sloping and penetrated the roof of Ms Nakalema’s home.
“I think the bullet came from the flat (storied building) behind the house. We hear there are lawyers in that house and they have pistols and guns but nobody knows,” says a neighbour who preferred anonymity.
According to reports from police, the bullet was fired from an AK-47 sub-machine gun.
Efforts to get a comment from the owners of building from which the gun was allegedly fired were futile because they were not at home when Daily Monitor visited the area. Their phone contacts could not be obtained by press time.
Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima in a phone interview said: “I will find the file and get back to you. I need to call the police post and find out what the case is and where it has reached,” Mr Kayima said.
However, 24 hours later, he had not yet secured the file.