Soldier tortures boy for mocking him, holds Buvuma village at gunpoint.

  • Updated by Faith Barbara Namagembe at 1049 EAT on Monday 2 May 2022.

Residents of Buvuma islands are living under fear after a Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) soldier only known as Robert brutally assaulted a 4-year-old boy for allegedly laughing at him while he was mastering how to ride a bicycle.

Robert, who is attached to a detach in Nandala forest, Nairambi sub-county allegedly brutally beat a toddler identified as Najib Iguru, claiming that the boy had stoned him near his home. According to the boy’s mother, Aisha Namugaya, after the battering, the boy lost his body balance, his right leg started swelling while also struggling to breath.

“After beating the boy, the soldier took off, however I made an alarm calling for help from my husband,” Namugaya says. “When he arrived he first told me to carry the boy and report the matter to the LC I chairperson. However, upon looking at the boy’s condition he changed his mind and rushed him to the hospital.”

Abdulla Muyodi, the father to the victim says that upon his return from the hospital, he met with the same soldier along the way. On raising his discontent over what had happened, the soldier instructed him to report the matter at the local council. But as the village council sat to handle the matter, the soldier arrived fully armed and also dressed in full combat uniform. He ordered the village council members to lie down on their stomachs else he starts shooting.

“He instructed me to lead him to my home before ordering all the village leaders not to follow us,” Muyodi explained further. “Reaching at the trading center of Kitiko, he started shouting, threatening everyone never to accuse or express discomfort on anything the soldiers do in the community and this is when I also got a chance to escape and hide into the bush.”

Muyodi says he managed to coordinate with the village chairperson to report the matter to police but instead they were referred to the office of the resident district commissioner (RDC).

“We managed to see the RDC [Deborah Mwesigwa] at around 10 pm and she instructed us to return the following day, on Wednesday after listening to our concern, instructed police to investigate the matte,” says Muyodi. “However, police have never stepped in our village to do any investigations. Despite the DPC [Emilly Angomu] acknowledging the fact that our boy was tortured, she only called and instructed the soldier to compensate us. She even retained our medical forms on which we receive treatment at hospital.”

The accused UPDF soldier together with the sub county internal security officer (GISO) visited Muyodi’s home on instructions of the DPC and forced him to accept Shs 50,000 as compensation. They also instructed him to sign acknowledging receipts of the money but declined saying the money is not enough to treat the boy.

So far Muyodi says he has spent over Shs 200,000 in transport and medicine. Currently the boy has regained some energy and can stand but finds it difficult to walk. On his right thigh, there are black bruises indicating the torture he underwent.

The entire village council is currently scared of what may happen next to them, as the armed Robert is still at large and unrestrained. Police has not yet taken any interest in the fact that he was learning how to ride a motorised machine without a qualified instructor.

The LC I chairperson, Patrick Kaso says the soldier threatened to shoot them in case they don’t give up pushing for his arrest.

“I went to the police as well as the office of the RDC and recorded my statement about the incident but nothing I am aware of has been done about the offense and the danger the village is facing from the armed and dangerous man,” Kaaso said in fear. “The soldier warned that he will shoot the entire village if a case is instituted regarding the brutal assault of the child. I am also now scared for my life and how to as my children are still young.”

The DPC, Angomu declined to say anything about the matter. However, the RDC Mwesigwa insists that they instructed police to investigate and hope for a solution in a shortest period of time.

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