Attacked in 2012, comatose Burundi student to be flown home

Nestor Ntbateganya, father of Yannick Nihangaza, at a private hospital in Patiala. File photo: Special Arrangement   | Photo Credit: AKHILESH KUMAR

More than two years after Yannick Nihangaza, a student from Burundi, was left comatose after a brutal attack by some youth in Jalandhar, preparations are being made to fly him home.

His father, Nestor Nitbateganya, told The Hindu over the phone from Patiala that the Punjab government had agreed to pay for an air ambulance. Mr. Nitbateganya has been at the bedside of his son, who is unable to recognise anyone, at Columbia Asia Hospital, Patiala since April 2012.

Deputy Commissioner, Patiala, Varun Roojam, said Yannick should be on his way home in three or four days.

With no improvement in his condition and waning public interest, Mr. Nitbateganya had written to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to help him take his son home.

The family has arranged to get him admitted to a hospital in Burundi, but Mr. Nitbateganya has no idea how to bear the expenses.

“I have not thought about it as yet. Since there is no hope for him here, I think it is better that he is back home in the midst of family and friends,” he said.

The government has been footing his hospital bills, though Rs.1 crore is due in accumulated bills. “Though the government has assured me that it will pay these bills, it will be nice if they are cleared at the earliest so that I can take Yannick back home with a clear mind,” Mr. Nitbateganya said.

Official sources, however, indicated that the hospital was being persuaded to write off the amount on humanitarian grounds.

Yannick, who enrolled in a computer engineering course at a private university in Jalandhar, was attacked on April 21, 2012, while returning from a party.

He was left for dead by the roadside and passers-by took him to the hospital. Seven persons have been sentenced to 10 years in jail for the attack, while two have reportedly fled the country.

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Printable version | Oct 15, 2021 3:27:17 AM |

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