Police in Butebo is investigating an incident of aggravated child torture in which a young boy was tortured by his father over consuming vegetable soup reserved for an evening meal.
The victim has been identified as Christopher Kalyebi, aged 12 and a resident of Okaulya village, Komolo Parish, Maizimasa sub-county in Butebo District. It is alleged that Kalyebi was tortured by his father, Mr Herbert Kibukulia, 50, under avoidable circumstances in March 2023 at around 1.00pm.
The father, a peasant, was told that his son, Kalyabi, had returned from school at Kaujani Primary school, which is half a kilometer from home and ate what was left in the saucepan. Kalyabi was in primary two. Kalyebi’s father, who separated with his mother identified as Ms Sarah Amullen, five years ago became annoyed.
He tied both hands of his son with a rope, wrapped them with dry banana leaves, then set them ablaze. Kalyabi got burnt on the hands and back. The victim was then rushed to Mbale Regional Referral Hospital where he first received treatment before he escaped due to lack of money to buy drugs. The father and the step mother are on the run. Police is hunting for the couple to answer charges of aggravated child torture.
According to Mr Gonsya, one of the neighbors, the child was severely burnt right from the head, the back and almost the entire body was burnt with the skin peeled off. The Locals said that they had to intervene to save the child’s life while he was still burning.
“The angry residents also pounced on his home, destroyed several properties in reiteration to what this man and the step mother had actually done to their child. This was totally barbaric and inhuman in this era,” Mr Gonsya said. Adding that, “The residents had to immediately report the case to Kabwangasi Police station as others mobilized and rushed the child to Mbale regional hospital for urgent medication. The child’s life was in danger. This was quite unfortunate.”
Mr Muntu Sisye, one of the elders, strongly condemned the actions of the father because the levels of corporal punishment that he undertook was excessive and calls for severe reprimand for his behaviours.
“This was a bad incidence. Parents should not think that resorting to that level of punishment is the solution but they should take maximum care of their children. This action should be strongly condemned,”Mr Sisye said.
The Maizimasa LC3 chairman, Mr Samex Otimong, said that on several occasions parents have been warned against child abuse because it is criminal.
“The actions of the father was uncalled for because turning to his own biological child and set him ablaze was quite inhuman, regrettable and must be strongly condemned. It took us hours to calm down the situation because the community members wanted to cut his animals, destroy properties in revenge on what he did to his child,”Mr Otimong explained.
Kalyebi’s mother got information about her child’s fate after one-day and was told that her son had been admitted at Mbale Regional hospital in critical condition. Ms Slivia Katooko, the Executive Director of Ebenezer ministry explained that later the child was taken to Ebenezer Children\’s Ministry-located in Kibuku Town Council, where he is currently getting psycho-social support to cope.
“The boy’s life had not been friendly. This is why we decided to take on the care before he can be taken for main surgery operation at CORSU hospital-Entebbe in September ,”she said Ms Katooko also explained that the biological mother had reported the case to Kabwangasi Police station but cannot afford transport to follow up the case.
“The continued lack of transport and the long distance frustrated the biological mother to follow up the case. The mother seeks justice for the pain that was inflicted on her child under such a cruel manner,”she added. Ebenezer children’s ministry has a primary section. Kalyebi is now being kept in one of the dormitories with maximum care by sleeping in a net to protect him against flies because the wounds still look fresh.
The Gombololo Internal Security Officer [GISO] in-charge of Maizimasa, Mr Richard Otimong, told Monitor that the actions undertaken by the father to torture his child was so “barbaric.
“As security, we strongly condemn these actions and must come and account for them in order to serve as a deterrent to other parents. This is not the only alternative way to punish children. This purely tantamount to human torture. We are still hunting for him,”Mr Otimong said.
North Bukedi Regional Police Spokesperson, SP Immaculate Alaso, said that Police are investigating the case of child torture.
Source: Daily Monitor