A 20-year-old Senior Six leaver is struggling for his life in Mulago Hospital after he was shot in the head during Monday’s walk-to- work demonstrations at Kirinya, Kira town council in Wakiso district.
“Gun shot in the cerebral region. CT scan not clear. Get better CT scan,” read Gerald Kato’s medical form signed by Dr. Nyati.
Kato’s father, Salongo Gerald Mukasa, said: “We left home together. I was going to town and Kato was going to buy sugar at the shop. I stood by the road near Didas’ shop in Kirinya-Kito waiting for a taxi to take me to town. Since there were no taxis, I stayed at the stage for some time.
“The demonstrators had run away and the situation had calmed down. However, some Police officers were still moving around. Then all of a sudden, I saw a man in plain clothes near a group of Police officers with a pistol shooting. He was targeting a boda boda cyclist who had parked at the roadside.
After shooting, the man quickly entered a private vehicle and drove off. He was dressed in a white shirt and dark trousers.”
Salongo added that : “After a few minutes, I heard people calling out, ‘Salongo! Kato has been killed.’ A military man saw me shouting and putting my hands on the head, running towards my son. He stopped me and asked if the shot boy was my son. When I said yes, he let me go.
I had crossed the road midway when a Police officer stopped me. He ordered me to bend and remove the tyres and sticks that had been put in the middle of the road.”
“I refused, telling him my son had been shot. I ran to where Kato was lying in a pool of blood with saliva oozing out of his mouth and mucus from his nose. After a few minutes, a Red Cross ambulance arrived and brought us to Mulago Hospital,” he disclosed.
“Kato has been put on drips of water and blood. The doctor recommended a scan. I am worried about my son. I am a retired civil servant from Kampala City Council. I have no money and my wife, Nalongo Christine Mukasa, does not work.
The Government should help because my son was shot by government forces. They should at least help us with treatment so that my son can have his normal life back,” he pleaded. Attempts to get a comment from Kato, who is in Ward 2B, were futile because he was in severe pain.
Kato’s twin brother, Henry Waswa, prays that his brother recovers and goes to Makerere University and study his dream course of music, dance and drama.
Kato did his A’level at Kirinya High School, where he scored aggregate 14. He is the last born in a family of four. Meanwhile, Mulago public relations officer Daniel Kimoco said the eight people who were taken to the hospital from Kasangati early in the day were all discharged in good condition.
However, he was unwilling to comment on Kato’s condition. He said a baby, who suffered extensive exposure to tear gas, was taken to the intensive care unit, but was later discharged in good condition.
The army and the Police units on Monday used tear gas and bullets to break up protests against rising food and fuel prices around the country, leaving one person dead in Kampala.
Frank Mugisha, who died in Kasangati, is the first person to die in riot-related incidents in Kampala.
167 injured in walk-to-work city demos
A total of 17 people, who sustained gunshot wounds, are among the 167 people authorities say were injured in the walk-to-work demos and other incidents.
The 17 were hit by rubber bullets at Makerere University, Kajjansi, Mukono and Namugongo in Wakiso and in Gulu, according to the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS). Some of them are still receiving treatment.
Of the injured, 98 people were victims of the protests, which have since spread to the countryside, while 67 Makerere University students suffered a similar fate while rioting over a planned fees hike. The institution has since backtracked.
URCS secretary general Michael Richard Nataka in a statement said 35 people lost consciousness due to tear gas. Four people were wounded on the heads, 80 fainted and were hurt, and six sustained leg cuts and fractures. Six people’s limbs got fractured, 12 became unconscious owing to wounds, while eight people complained of headache.
According to Nataka, four people have since died in the chaos that ensued as opposition politicians attempted to walk to their places of work. Three of the unidentified victims were in Gulu, while another person died in Kasangati in Wakiso district on Monday. But they were not identified.
The demos occurred on April 11, 14 and 18 while the unrest at Makerere University occurred on April 15. Opposition politicians are protesting the high fuel prices and persistent inflation.
Nataka hailed all the parties involved in the operation for respecting URCS and giving it access to save the causalities.
“Our focus was to save lives by evacuating and providing first aid services to whoever needed our help. URCS staff and volunteers dedicated their efforts to saving lives while at the same time respecting the dignity of those assisted,” he said.
The injured were referred to Mulago, Nsambya, Kawala and Gulu hospitals.
Others were referred to Mukono health centre and Gwattiro Nursing Home Bweyogerere.
Most of the injured have since been discharged.