Shot, forgotten: Tales of Mityana riot victims

Injured. Reagan Muwonge, one of the victims.

What you need to know:

Toll. Up to six people have been shot dead in Arua, Kampala and Mityana during the Arua by-election fracas and subsequent demonstrations.

Teenager and student Aisha Nabulumba was on August 20 trekking home from Al-Fahad Vocational Institute in Katwe, a city suburb, and nothing seemed ominous.

She then unexpectedly stepped in a zone of skirmish between demonstrators and security forces, and a bullet caught her in the buttocks. She fell and could not rise up on her own.

“People who attempted to carry me were beaten... one man was caning me as I lay on ground,” Mr Nabalumba said yesterday, recollecting her ordeal of almost a fortnight ago.
Makindye Division Mayor Ali Kasirye on Saturday dispatched an ambulance to pick her because “residents invited me to intervene because parents can’t afford medical [bills]”.

The ambulance dropped her at Kiruddu Hospital, a satellite wing of Mulago National Referral Hopsital, but health workers there instantly referred her to the main facility.

A bullet that lodged in her womb had been removed during a previous surgery, but the excruciating pain seemed unstoppable.
“She (Nabalumba) is one of the many injured or dead after one man had his car allegedly stoned. I think political violence should stop,” mayor Kasirye said.

Up to six people have been shot dead in Arua, Kampala and Mityana during the Arua by-election fracas and subsequent demonstrations after 33 people, including still hospitalised MPs Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) and Francis Zaake of Kyadondo East and Mityana Municipality, respectively, were arrested.

The suspects, now jointly charged with treason, said many of them were tortured while in custody, resulting in grievous bodily harm.

One such demonstration erupted in Mitayana Town.

Police officers, whom President Museveni as the commander-in-chief, later said were not even on duty but panicked, sprayed bullets on a taxi transporting soccer fans.

One passenger died on the spot, a second victim passed away a couple of days later while four others were discharged prematurely because they lacked money for upkeep and hospital bills. They include Jalia Nakamya of Buswabulongo, shot four time in the leg, and now out of her tailoring job.

Ms Doreen Asiimwe, a resident of Kayunga and salon operator, took six bullets and can only drag herself on a crutch.
15-year-old Reagan Muwonge of Kiyinda was shot twice in the hand. Also recovering from bullet wound is Ramathan Muwonge of Wabigalo. He has limped back to his shop attendant work because he must fend for himself and his family.

The gunshot victims are awaiting the help that President Museveni promised to offer through State House Comptroller Lucy Nakyobe.

The Kabaka Ronald Mutebi through his emissary, the Buganda Kingdom junior Local Government minister, Mr Joseph Kawuki, reached out to his subjects, urging them to keep strong in the face of unprovoked shooting.

“In his majesty’s message I delivered, the Kabaka condemned the brutality which the security agencies meted on innocent people. The Kabaka called upon the government to bring the culprits before the law,” Mr Kawuki said.

The Kabaka extended support to the bereaved families of the two Mityana victims: Samuel Ssekiziyivu and Lawrence Jjingo.
One policeman has been charged with murder over the deaths. Inspector General of Police Martins Okoth-Ochola described the shooting as “criminal, unlawful and unnecessary”.


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