Ms Justine Namuganga was betrayed by the man she loved and trusted. She was hacked on the head, sliced over the eyes and nose and left for dead in a pool of blood. But she was rescued by some good Samaritans and lived to tell her story of betrayed love.
Ms Namuganga, a businesswoman and phone dealer in Masaka District, was lured on a false business trip by her lover and attacked with a machete (panga) in Sekulo Village, Kamonkoli Sub-county in Budaka District, last Saturday.
Ms Namuganga met Police Constable (PC) Canan Idube Kisambira, a traffic officer, at Mbirizi Police Station in Lwengo District.
“He was my friend and he knew I was dealing in phones, so he convinced me to raise some money and travel to Busia in eastern Uganda to buy phones at a cheaper price. But he had also been pestering me to lend him my car, a Toyota Raum.
I had lent it him a couple of times before and he would drive and return it. But this time round, he wanted to go to Mbale District, and since I had some money, I accompanied him.
We left Masaka at 2pm on Friday in my car together with his brother, who we left in Iganga District.
From Iganga, we drove on to Mbale and arrived at 8pm.
I suggested we book a hotel, but he (PC Idube) said he would not sleep in a hotel, but go home to spend the night.
Mysterious grains of rice
But before we set off from Mbale for his home, he gave me six grains of rice.
I was puzzled and asked why. He only said he was administering an oath and warned me that the grains would leave me dizzy.
Fearful, as we set off, I stealthily spat out the rice grains. Since I was tired, I sat in the back of the car as he drove.
He drove for some good distance and I became increasingly scared. We passed through deserted places without any sign of a house or settlement.
After some distance, we drove on past a sign post that was vaguely familiar to me. I had seen it before.
Soon, I realised we had been driving and rotating about the same place, but I kept calm.
When I complained, he drove for some more short distance and parked on the roadside to make a call.
He left me in the car and as walked off. All I could see was his phone light.
I could not hear what he was saying. I wanted to call him but I feared to go out of the car. So I hooted and he returned. He looked angry and complained why I had hooted. He said I had frightened him.
It was now late and pitch dark. I asked him what time it was and he said it was 2.30am.
He got into the car and we drove off until we reached a remoter place where I could no-longer see any houses. He drove for a distance again and parked outside an iron-roofed house.
He said my car would be parked overnight at that house, so I asked him to knock on the door but he refused.
He asked to take out my bag and we walk out. I refused to get out, prompting him to drive on until we came to a junction and he parked the vehicle again on the roadside.
He told me to pick up my bag and he also got out his bag. I was surprised to see him pull a panga from his bag.
When I asked him what the panga was for, he said there was a fierce dog at his home that was troublesome.
He said the dog was only used to the boy who keeps his house but now that the boy was not at home, he feared the dog could attack us.
Locking the car
He locked the car and I asked him to give me the keys. Strangely, he told me to take a different direction, saying he too was going to take another direction and we meet somewhere.
I refused to leave him as fear gripped me.
We walked for a short distance and came to the compound with iron-roofed house.
He told me to squat in a nearby bush as he goes to knock on the door, claiming he did not want his mother to see me. I refused because he wanted to leave me there as he goes to open.
He tried to use both hands to push me to the ground, but I resisted.
I did not see why he wanted me to squat. He claimed his dog might come after me, but I still refused because I could not hear any dog bark. I told him that should I squat at all, it can only be in the middle of the road.
I squatted with my bag in my hands, and he said: That is what I was waiting for.”
PC Idube, who was standing in front of Ms Namuganga, swung his sharp panga and cut her on the head.
But her plaited hair came in handy to protect her from the violent blow, leaving her with a deep cut that peeled off her scalp, exposing her skull.
He swung the panga again and cut her in the right eye as the panga also sliced the right part of her nose.
She screamed but PC Idude was now swinging the panga wildly as he cut her right hand.
But Ms Namuganga’s thick jacket protected her. Idude delivered another blow between her thumb and the next finger.
He went on to cut her on the fore head and in the face before he picked up her bag and fled.
“At that time, I was bleeding profusely. So I staggered into the road and fell on a heap of soil left by a tractor that excavated the road. There were three boda boda riders who by passed me.
After about one hour, I got up and tried to get to the house for help, but I fell and collapsed against a mango tree in the compound.
When the lady of the house woke up, she found me lying in a pool of blood.
She called two other women, then a boda boda rider and later there was a man who came in a vehicle and they rushed me to Mbale Regional Referral Hospital.
When I reached Mbale, a nurse asked me personal details before she called in doctors to come and help. She introduced me as her sister’s daughter.
Ms Namuganga was transfused to stabilise her and was taken to the theatre where her hair was shaved off.
The doctors examined her and found that the cuts had not affected the bones.
The doctors then stitched up Ms Namuganga. The stitching was done below the skin to preserve her facial features.
Need for support
Speaking to Sunday Monitor from her hospital bed, Ms Namuganga says she is in deep pain. She also complained of dizziness.
The panga badly seared her right hand and she has been advised to seek more medical attention from Mengo Hospital in Kampala.
“I am asking good Samaritans to come to my rescue. I was the breadwinner for my children,” Ms Namuganga says amid tears.
Ms Namuganga, who was being nursed by family members, still fears PC Idube might sneak into the hospital and kill her.
She also alleges Shs1.1 million was taken from her.
Police have since opened a case of robbery and attempted murder against PC Idude at Kamonkoli Police Station in Budaka District.
The regional police commander of Greater Masaka, Mr Enock Abaine, confirmed PC Idube was on the run.
“We have been contacted from Mbale about the same person but he has not reported back to work,” Mr Abaine said.
Police also recovered some of the victim’s personal belongings, including a phone and the vehicle.