Lives we lost: Shot over obscene hand gesture

What you need to know:

  • Grieving families and friends share the triumphs, travails and final moments of relatives in a way that offers insights into the lives of victims hitherto treated as statistics.

In the new series, we chronicle how bullets prematurely shattered the blooming dreams of dozens during two days of madness last November. In interviews with our reporter, Gillian Nantume, grieving families and friends share the triumphs, travails and final moments of relatives in a way that offers insights into the lives of victims hitherto treated as statistics.


HUZAIRU KIRUJJA

His friends, who prefer to remain anonymous, say Kirujja was 20-years-old. He lived in Muzaana Zone, in Kisenyi, Kampala. He did not live with his parents, but he had a girl-friend.

No one can point to exactly where he lived as they explain that like other boys in the neighbourhood, Kirujja was just sketching life. Two of his friends we spoke to admitted to taking part in some of the rioting on Link Road in Kisenyi.

“Kirujja ate kikomando (a meal of chapatti and  beans) at about 10am in the morning, in Muzaana Taxi Park. Like the rest of us, he had no job. When the rioting started, we moved towards Link Road to see what we could do,” one of the youth said.

The friend says Kirujja and another young man stood on the balcony of one of the buildings and called out to a soldier on the street.
“When he looked up, the other young man made an obscene hand gesture. The soldier came up to him, challenging him to repeat the sign. Kirujja did not know that his friend had sneaked away.”

Kirujja made the obscene hand gesture. The soldier took aim and shot. The bullet grazed Kirujja’s arm.
 “He shot him again, twice, in the ribs. Kirujja died on the spot. When we got his body, it took us a long time to find his relatives,” the friend says.
 He does not know where Kirujja was buried.

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