By Charles Etukuri and Godfrey Ojore
On September 7, Dorothy Atim left home to go to the Etop offices in Soroti, where she worked as a sales representative with Vision Group.
She had urgent assignments on that day and even though it was a weekend, she wanted them finished before she could join her family.
“We met that morning and discussed a number of business ideas and projects that we were doing together as the sales team,” says her immediate supervisor, Frank Mugabi. Shortly after, Atim left office and went home at Senior Quarters (Soroti) and helped prepare supper.
According to one of her brothers, after supper, Atim left home and headed to her favourite hangout joint at Trends Discotheque to join her friends for the evening.
According to the guards at the gate (Trends Discotheque), shortly after she had entered, her boyfriend, Andrew Francis Obirai, also followed her.
“He was carrying a bucket,” “They separated after having misunderstandings. She even told her parents about it, but Obirai insisted,” a close friend says.
The two had met when Atim was in school and they had been together for over seven years. At the time of the incident, it is reported that Atim had moved on with someone else.
According to the Police, this was the first reported acid case in the region. “This is the first case for us to record in the whole of Teso region. It is strange and we are wondering where he got the acid from,” says Kyoha East Police spokesperson, Juma Hassan Nyene.
The Soroti district Police commander, Joab Wabwire, says they have launched a man hunt for Obirai. Shortly after the incident, Obirai, who is a member of the Teso Na Ikoto, a group on Facebook, tried to explain what happened. On September 9, just a day after the incident, he posted a message denying responsibility of the attack.
“I have known her (Atim) for more than a decade and at one moment, we parted ways and she went ahead to have a child with another man, but came back crawling to me. Why didn’t I attack then and I am doing it now?” he wrote. Challenged on why he was hiding if he was innocent, he wrote at 12:25pm: “I am going to hand over myself to the Police. I am just finalising some stuff. You are over attacking me as if you know all the NITTY-GRITTY of the case.”
Sunday Vision could not verify reports that the suspect had enlisted the help of an army Colonel to escape. For now, Atim lies in Mulago Hospital ward 2C in the intensive care unit. When Sunday Vision visited, she lay in pain, her disfigured body wrapped in bandages. She is being attended to by family members.
It is an event that has left her friends and family members traumatised. “The pain is too much. I do not have specific words to describe the mood in the office,” says Abraham Ogaram, a close friend. She may, for the rest of her life, have to suffer as the action of her cruel boyfriend has robbed her of her beauty.
The Police released information about Obirai who hails from Bugondo sub-county in Kasilo county, Serere district. “He has been operating an MTN mobile money shop in Soroti town. He also owns a night club called Zambra Club in Soroti. Currently, he is suspected to be within Kampala, but has intentions of fleeing the country,” says a Police statement.
The Police is now appealing to whoever has any information which may lead to Obirai’s arrest to pass it in confidence to the nearest Police station or ring telephone numbers: 0714667983, 0714667980, 0715989991, or 0714667982.
On Thursday, the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Karooro Okurut, visited Atim and called for stringent measures to be put in place to control the sale of Acid. On average, Mulago Hospital receives 15-20 cases of acid attacks yearly and the numbers seem to be on the increase.