Apaa Shooting Victims Struggle to Adjust Top story

2005 Views Amuru, Ethiopia

In short
Nathan Onyachi, the director Gulu Regional Hospital says it could take the amputees over a year to learn to do certain things using the left hand.

 26-year-old Felix Opiyo is one of the victims of the Apaa shooting in Amuru district. Opio was shot by government operatives on Monday last week during protests by residents of Apaa in Pabo Sub County against the Amuru-Adjumani boundary demarcation.
URN visited St Mary's hospital Lacor on Monday this week and found Opio holding a book "If Prison Walls Could Speak" by Richard Wurmbrand using his left hand. The book reveals what communist imprisonment and torture can do to Christians

He is adjusting slowly to using his left hand after his right arm was amputated last week at St Mary's hospital Lacor in Gulu as a result of gunshot wounds. 

The second year Gulu University Business Administration student says all he remembers is that he was carrying a branch during the protest only to realise that he had been hit.  According to Opio, losing one arm is the most painful thing since he has been fending for himself, his mother and other siblings.
//Cue in: "I have been working………………
Cue out…for those kids"//
Opio is not sure whether he will harvest the crops from his garden since he has no one to depend on.

//Cue in: "Since the beginning……………….
Cue out…earn a living"//

As a result of the shooting, Opio is considering enrolling for a law course after completing his business administration degree course so as to protect human rights and dignity.
According to Opio, those who know the law are misusing their power instead of protecting citizens. Opio is not alone. 27-year-old Jacob Okumu, a farmer was also shot during the protests against the Amuru-Adjumani boundary demarcation. 

Okumu also had his right arm amputated because of the injuries he sustained in the shooting. According to Okumu, before the boundary demarcation he had planted cassava, potatoes and other crops in his garden.
//Cue in: "The problem I have……………….
Cue out: …………….with one hand"//

Nathan Onyachi, the director Gulu Regional Hospital says it could take the amputees over a year to learn to do certain things using the left hand.

According to Onyachi, although the amputee may not recover fully, getting them an occupational therapist to teach them how to wash, bathe and do major things in life would help them a great deal.
Patrick Jimmy Okema, the Aswa Regional Police spokesperson maintains the victims were not shot. He argues that the duo sustained injuries leading to the amputation of their arms when they picked back teargas canisters and tried to hurl it back to Police personnel.
According to Okema, Police only used rubber bullets and teargas canisters to quell the protests although the local leaders insist they recovered spent bullet cartridges. Francis Odongyoo, the Executive Director Human Rights Focus says the gunshot victims must be helped to ensure that justice prevails.  
He says Human rights groups will work with the victims to document the violations and push for compensation and hold all those involved punishable. 


About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.