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Komamboga Blast Survivors Speak Out

He was meeting a businessman at Georon. "This businessman wanted to sell me his bar and I had moved with 4.9 million shillings to seal the deal." Ssengonzi adds, "But before signing the agreement, the explosion happened and in the process, I lost all the money."
Annet Kiconco, one of the survivors of the Komamboga blast

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Three people who survived death by a whisker when a locally improvised bomb exploded at a small eatery in Komamboga, a suburb in Kampala have today narrated their stories.

The explosion happened on Saturday, October 24 at Georon, a small eatery next to the famous Digida Pork joint in Kawempe Division.

The trio identified as Annet Kiconco, Peter Ssengonzi and Derrick Isabirye, alias Minaje are currently nursing serious injuries at the Accidents and Emergency (Casualty) Unit at Mulago National Specialized Hospital.

Kiconco, who was initially feared dead according to eye witness accounts, was first rushed to ABC Clinic Kitala in Kanyanya, Kawempe Division and then transferred to Mulago Hospital around 11pm.

One of the medics, who spoke on condition of anonymity said Kiconco was unconscious at the time of admission. "She was admitted to the resuscitation room and regained consciousness around 5am on Sunday. But she was only able to speak after 7am when she recognised some of the people at her bedside," the medic said.

The 26-year-old businesswoman told Uganda Radio Network that she is happy that she survived.

She sells French fries locally known as Irish potato chips near the Georon eatery.  Kiconco says she had sold a plate of chips to one of the revelers in Georon and had returned to demand payment when she was hit during the explosion. The police says the bomb was locally improvised and therefore it is a case of domestic terrorism.

Kiconco however hardly recalls what happened after the blast. But she is convinced that God wants her alive, considering the serious injuries she has sustained in her arms, legs and buttocks. A mother of two children, Kiconco is known among the locals in Komamboga as Janat and Brown Sugar.

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Her friends, Innocent Mukiga and Immaculate Nahwera and three siblings led by  Ibrahim Mwesiga were among the first people to rush to Mulago Hospital. Mukiga says, " when people saw her at the scene, they thought she had not even made it to the ABC clinic in Kanyanya alive. So there were many social media reports saying she had died. "

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Isabirye, who roasts chicken near Digida Eating point, says he had delivered chicken to three customers inside Georon when the explosion went off. Just like Kiconco, he is still in shock that he survived.

In a brief interview, the 18-year-old told our reporter that he did not remember any of the  people inside the eatery last night. For personal security reasons, Isabirye  declined to disclose whether or not he can identify any of the people who could have orchestrated the move. He has sustained injuries on his right eye, cheeks, legs and arms.

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The 28-year-old Peter Ssengonzi says the explosion was a terrible experience. His stomach, and legs got hit during the explosion. He was meeting a businessman at Georon when the incident happend.  "This businessman wanted to sell to me his bar and I had moved with 4.9 million shillings to seal the deal," adds Ssengonzi. "But before signing the agreement, the explosion happened and in the process, I lost all the money," he added.

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He is now urging the government to extend financial support to the survivors even though they had defied the curfew hours that start at 7pm and end at 5:30am. Ssengonzi says the eatery has always operated during curfew hours.

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Though police say the blast took place around 9pm on October 23, Ssengonzi, Kiconco and Isabirye say it was before 7:30pm.

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