How love for European football ended Amaku’s life

The 28-year-old man had gone to watch a UEFA Champions League Group match on September 14, 2022. PHOTO/UEFA

What you need to know:

  • Joshua Amaku died after a man considered to be his friend- set him on fire over a past debt.

Police in West Nile region are hunting for a man linked to the death of a football fan who had gone to Europe’s elite club competition in a video hall.

On September 14, 2022, Joshua Amaku left his home in Arua City to watch the UEFA Champions League (UCL) football match in the neighboring Nyaunyau Trading Cetre in Orugbo Ward, Ayivu West Division. Little did Amaku know that the night would perhaps mark the beginning of the most painful fortnight of his life leading to his death.

Locals say “all Amaku wanted was to cheer his team alongside other football fanatics as they enjoyed the evening away.”

However, a fast-unfortunate turn of events that has since left Amaku’s parents and friends with painful memories to endure unfolded as the 28-year-old boda-boda cyclist anticipated viewing football at a venue belonging to a man considered his friend.

Amaku arrived at Sunday Gabo’s cinema hall at around 8:30pm, according to his colleagues.

Gabo is then said to have requested Amaku to buy him fuel which they would use to refill the generator that was being used to operate the cinema hall.

Gabo is said to have given Amaku Shs20,000 to buy fuel of Shs10,000 which the latter did at a nearby petrol station.  

Once Gabo demanded Maku for his balance, sources say that Amaku told him that “Shs5,000 was supposed to be his transport refund which Gabo reluctantly accepted.”

Eyewitnesses indicate that the tone of their conversation suddenly changed for the worse when Amaku reminded Gabo that the other balance of Shs5,000 was to clear a debt he owed him.

The two then picked an argument which escalated, forcing Gabo to open the fuel jerrycan’s, drenching Amaku in fuel at the cinema hall. Armed with a matchbox, Gabo set Amaku on fire.

The shocking scenes sent by-watchers into panic as a burning Amaku forced his way out of the cinema hall for help from outside bystanders.

“They used sand to put out the fire but it was too late. He had been badly burnt and barely breathing by the time the fire was put out,” an eyewitness who preferred anonymity told Monitor on Friday.

Locals led by the Orugbo Ward LCII Chairman Opiyo Abiria Anania rushed to the scene and took Amaku to Arua Hospital before the local leader reported to police.

By the time police arrived at the cinema hall, Gabo had disappeared.

However, detectives recorded statement from the patrons and others found at the crime scene while Amaku fought for his life in hospital.

Amaku’s health condition continuously deteriorated until September 28, when he was pronounced dead at around 9pm.

Without necessarily revealing postmortem findings, police said it was conducted on September 29 by the Force’s surgeon.

“His body was also handed over for burial as inquiries continue under Onduparaka Police Station SD reference 12/15/09/2022,” West Nile Region police spokesperson, SP Josephine Angucia said on September 30.

Police further urged masses not to take the law into their hands by revenging but instead assist police in tracing the suspect who is on the run.