Beer, anger and mystery as terror victim is buried

The casket containing the remains of Emily Nyinaneza is lowered into the grave by her friends at the KCCA 
cemetery in Kirinya-Bweyogerere, Kampala, yesterday. PHOTOS/ DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • The deceased was buried in a public cemetery since no one could trace her ancestral home or relations.

No one knew her beyond the name Emily Nyinaneza.  None of her relatives could be identified nor showed up to claim her body. And her nationality was speculated.
This is the mystery surrounding Nyinaneza, a waitress who succumbed to injuries sustained in last Saturday’s explosion at a pork eatery in Komamboga in Kawempe, a Kampala suburb.
Workmates and friends claim she was a Rwandan national, but provide no proof.
She was aged 20 or thereabout.

The mystery about the girl reported to have lived in the area since a teenager, deepened when neither her landlord nor employer could profile her.
And with no one to claim her corpse, the responsibility to pick her body from City Mortuary at Mulago Hospital by default fell on volunteers who identified as her friends in life.
Thus, there was no burial ground to call Nyinaneza’s final resting place, and the only option at hand was for her to be buried literally without record at a public cemetery in Kirinya-Bweyogerere managed by Kampala Capital City Authorities (KCCA).

The deceased was reported to be a waitress and on duty at Uncle Sam’s and Ronnie’s Pork joints the fateful Saturday when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) went off in an explosion have classified as an “act of domestic terrorism”.
Despite the gravity of the crime, and the fact that Nyinaneza was the old fatality of the blast, police appear less interested in locating her relatives or profiling her.

Mr Gerald Kateregga, the head of Komamboga business community, who owns a spirits and wines shop near the scene of the explosion, yesterday described the deceased as sociable and likable young girl who had hopped various bars in the area for work. “I have known her for the two years I have operated that shop near Uncle Sam’s. She and other girls used to buy some drinks from my shop to serve their clients, and we shall miss her a lot,” he said.

 A friend of Nyinaneza is consoled by mourners at the burial. 

When the blast ripped through the revellers at about 9pm, the flying shrapnel and nails as well as hub bearings badly cut Nyinaneza to the face and legs, leaving her bloodied.
A well-wisher rushed her to a medical facility, but one hour later, according to Kateregga, news filtered that the young woman had lost the battle.
Other than interviewing the volunteer who delivered her to a hospital, law enforcement agencies --- and government for that matter --- did little or nothing when news of the death of Nyinaneza filtered through, according to residents.

“Usually, government takes interest in such cases, funds the burial arrangements and sends condolence funds to their families,” said Mr Kateregga, adding: “But we are disappointed that [the] government has abandoned a bomb blast victim, and it’s friends who have footed all the bills from the mortuary fees, to transport fares, organising the vigil and paying for the place to bury her in the cemetery.”

Roughly, Godfrey Muyimbwa, the spokesperson for Komamboga Diehards, the group which arranged the burial, said the expenses grossed Shs4.7m.
We could not independently verify the claims, but this reporter witnessed Mr Kateregga handing Shs200,000 over to KCCA undertakers who opened the grave where Nyinaneza was interred yesterday.
There was no government or security representation at the burial.
One female mourner, overwhelmed by emotion, wished “Emily could see how friends had honoured her as if they are her family.”

A number of people buried at the Kirinya public cemetery, according to official records, are Rwandan, Burundian, Ethiopian, Eritrean, and South Sudanese nationals.
Pastor Richard Miiro of House of Glory, Kanyanya, who led the burial service, in a carefully-crafted message, rallied the mourners – some taking beer - to turn to Jesus.
 

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