MARACHA. The victims of 1991 Ojapi primary school air raid by two Antonov planes have started to realise some hope as the ministry of defense begins assessing the impact of the gruesome attack on the members of the community in the area.
Mr Philliam Debo Kamure, the chairperson for the victims whose leg was amputated after the bomb attack is hopeful that the process is the genesis of their redemption.
“We have been living in agony for the last 29 years due to the incapacitation caused. Had it not been Red Cross and other NGOs who rehabilitated us with artificial limbs, we would be in more problem,” Mr Debo said.
Debo said the victims are seeking compensation and rehabilitation from the government for the death of their relatives, animals, and destruction of properties in the raid which appeared to be a foreign invasion.
“Those who are disabled like me need better equipment for mobility, we need rehabilitation in the school and the churches in which buildings were destroyed, animals killed and the environment destroyed,” Mr. Debo stated.
Debo raised the concern during a meeting convened in Nacara village, Ojapi parish, Tara sub-county in Maracha district in which residents were interviewed by officials from Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) headquarters on Wednesday.
During the meeting, Col. Augustine Bwegendaho, the CMI team leader said they were on ground to authenticate reports already filed to the state at different levels so as to give guidance on how the victims may be helped.
“We have come to do an on-spot assessment to find the extent of the damage caused by the Antonov air raids. We want to talk to the victims and the school authority so that we report to the government to determine the kind of assistance deserved by the victims,” Col. Bwegendaho said.
According to Mr Kamure Aluma, 78, the headteacher of Ojapi primary school at the time of the raid, the place was bombed on Friday 20th September 1991 at 11:45 am by two Antonov planes suspected to have come from Khartoum.
Kamure said the planes released five bombs; three of the bombs landed on the school and church premises and the other two landed on a home on a hill, east of the school killing Charles Driwale, 11-year-old pupil and Ms Mary Jackson, a pregnant woman on spot.
He said Mr Isaac Azabo’s leg was amputated by the fragments while Mr Toko Aluma is still living with a fragment in his body.
Kamure noted that another resident, Mr. Michael Afimani lost 14 sheep while Azabo lost 4 sheep, Mr Charles Yosa lost 4 cows and Mr Solomon Apadra 3 sheep.
He added that six staff houses, a church, 4 church teachers’ houses, four houses belonging to Jackson Sadaraka, 2 houses of Joel Otoma and the school library were also demolished in the process.
The environment was completely devastated and the learning was disrupted since pupils dropped out of school due to fear of possible future attacks.