When two assailants descended on his mother, little Julio Joseph, obviously no match for the attackers, made a dash from his bedroom and used the only weapon that he could grab to save her. The weapon might only have been his mouth, but that was the difference between death and life for his mother. Emmanuel Muwamba visited Julio in Chiradzulu and was overwhelmed by the boyâ€™s courage that belies his age.
At the age of 11, Julio Joseph is already a hero in Gomani Village, T/A Likoswe in Chiradzulu because his mother is still alive today owing to his intervention.
Julio, a Standard Five dropout, last month saved his mother from unidentified attackers.
The assailants, who masked their faces, had sneaked into the familyâ€™s house and pounced on Veronica Joseph, Julioâ€™s mother. They tied a knot on her neck which squeezed her throat, nearly suffocating her in the process.
The attackers also tried to gouge out Veronicaâ€™s eyes as they dragged her out of her bedroom.
Veronicaâ€™s husband, Patrick, a machine minder at a plastic manufacturing company in Limbe, was on a night duty at work.
As the attackers dragged her out, Veronica screamed for help and Julio picked up the voice and quickly left his bedroom to see the strange developments in the house.
â€˜I shouted for helpâ€™
â€œI stood on the doorstep and shouted for help that my mother was in danger. One of the attackers, who I could not identify, pushed me aside as he fled while the other one loosened the knot and disappeared into the maize fields,â€ said the soft-spoken Julio.
In no time, a swam of villagers emerged from their homes but their pursuit of the two attackers yielded no results.
The matter was later reported to chairperson of community policing in the area who referred Veronica to Nguludi Police Unit.
According to a police report from the unit issued on February 21 by Constable E. Mofolo, Veronica claimed to have been assaulted by unidentified criminals.
Veronica, whose left eye no longer works following the attack, was taken to Nguludi Mission Hospital and was later transferred to Chiradzulu District Hospital for treatment of wounds on the earlobe and stab wounds on the lower eyelids.
Records from Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital where Veronica was later referred to, indicate that the wounds on the lower eyelids affected her vision for one week. Veronica says she is optimistic that she will regain sight in the left eye after treatment.
Villagers living in fear
Nation on Sunday visited the family at Gomani Village where it was revealed that villagers are now living in fear following the attack.
Patrick said a day before the attack on his wife, he discovered a hole where several bricks were removed but this did not alert him to any danger.
Fidelia Makaika, chairperson of the community policing, said the fact that people in the area are living in fear has prompted the committee and the police to hold sensitisation meetings.
â€œWe have already held two meetings. This Sunday, the meeting will be held in Gomani Village. We are not taking any chances.
â€œEverybody is concerned that we are going back to those haunting days of gruesome murders. People are relieving themselves inside their houses at night for fear of attacks. We have advised them to watch the backs of their peers,â€ said Makaika.
The attack on Veronica is a replica of brutal attacks in T/A Likoswe in early 2000 where about 10 people were victims of grisly murders.
The victims had their bodies mutilated, eyes gouged out, breasts dismembered and intestines, heart as well as livers taken away.
Twenty-five people were arrested, but only two were convicted by the High Court. Most of the suspects were acquitted for lack of evidence.