H. E: his forearm burnt and tortured for a stolen bicycle

This 16 year- young boy was burnt by his employer for letting his bicycle be stolen.-By Diane Uwimana

Etienne Hakizimana, hardly speaking: “I only pray to God for my recovery.” ©Iwacu

Etienne Hakizimana, hardly speaking: “I only pray to God for my recovery.” ©Iwacu

It is unbelievable. Who on earth would do this for a young child while he/she is a parent! His left forearm was burnt. Imagine! How it is painful to be burnt by a plastic bag. It is terrible and too bad to hear this horrible story of Etienne Hakizimana.

“It was at 12: 45 on Friday 23rd 2014 when I was rushing to prepare food for children getting back from school. Suddenly, I needed to go to a loo for a few minutes. When I came back, my heart inspired me to look at the bicycle; unfortunately, it wasn’t at its place. I alerted my boss’s wife. On her return, she told about what happened to her husband,” hardly speaks Hakizimana, with tears in his eyes.
After few hours, Hakizimana’s boss came with a stick. Firstly, says Hakizimana, he attached him with a rope. “He beat me until he felt exhausted and called his friend to help him.” Misfortune became worse and worse. Hakizimana underlines that his employer accompanied by his friend started to burn him. “They lighted the plastic bag and began to burn my leg, then; afterwards, they gave up and attacked my arm.” Hospitalized at a health center called “ la Sagesse” in Bwiza Commune, 3rd Avenue, a doctor who is caring for Hakizimana notes that he is burnt at the second degree. His forearm level is horrible to see. Hakizimana points out that his employer accused him of stealing the bicycle but Hakizimana denied. “When he started to burn my belly, I accepted that I stole the bicycle.”
This young boy has recently given up studies this first term due to an eye disease. “I’ve come here in Bujumbura to look for education and health care fees. I have only spent about two months at Ruziba, in Kanyosha Commune, at Frederic Nkeshimana’s place as a housegroom.” Hakizimana demands Justice to react: “for the moment, I only pray to God for my recovery.” But his family member who cares for him mentions that this case must be brought to court. “It is not an accident, it has been done willingly, we are going to take this case to Justice until the criminal be seriously punished,” he says.

“Rights and laws for household workers are urgently needed to protect them”

David Ninganza, the Spokesman of SOJPAE (Association of Christian Youth Solidarity for Peace and Childhood) states that what happened to Hakizimana is very shocking. “I couldn’t imagine how an adult person could treat a person like that. Housekeepers are considered as good- for- nothing”, regrets Ninganza.
He indicates that housekeepers should be well treated while they look after everything during the house owners’ absence. “It is high time the Ministry of Public Work elaborated the housekeepers’ rights and laws for their good protection. Their employers should know if they commit such mistreatment and torture, they should be punished accordingly”, explains Ninganza. It is worth reminding that SOJPAE is caring for Hakizimana’s health care. “We are also following up this case in Justice. The accused is now imprisoned but his friend has already escaped,” states Ninganza.
David Ninganza calls upon the Ministries of Justice and National Security (Police) to react in conformity with the law.

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