By Gad Masereka
In a recent incident in Kisoro district, a 10-year-old student, John Mary Vianney Irankunda, hailing from Kanyacucu village and attending Nshungwe Primary School, was successfully rescued after being abducted by a Congolese national identified as Hakiza. The ordeal began on October 22, 2023, when Hakiza, who had previously worked as a casual laborer for Irankunda’s parents, vanished with the young pupil.
The distressing situation escalated as Hakiza contacted the victim’s father, Moses Bakunzi Ninzeyimana, demanding a ransom of sh8 million for the child’s safe return. Fearing for his son’s safety, Bakunzi promptly reported the abduction to the police, seeking assistance.
In a desperate attempt to secure his son’s release, Bakunzi wired sh2 million to Hakiza’s mobile phone. Despite this partial payment, Hakiza refused to release the child until the full ransom amount was settled.
A surprising turn of events occurred when, on a Tuesday, Hakiza handed over the captive child to a mobile money agent named Jules Mbonigaba in DR Congo, instructing him to transport the boy to Mpaka town council. However, the interception and subsequent arrest of Mbonigaba took place at the immigration offices on the Ugandan side.
Mbonigaba, now in detention at Kisoro Police Station, claims that Hakiza entrusted him with the child. He has also disclosed information about Hakiza’s whereabouts. Boaz Arinetwe, Kisoro District Police community liaison officer, has reported that investigations into the matter are ongoing, and pending guidance from the Resident State Attorney’s office, charges may be filed against Mbonigaba.
Robert Tukamuheebwa, Kisoro Deputy Resident District Commissioner, highlighted the challenge faced in tracking Hakiza due to his use of a Ugandan number when contacting the victim’s parents, despite being a Congolese national. Despite initially losing hope, Bakunzi expressed relief at the recovery of his son from the clutches of the abductor.