By Chelsea Hackney, Student Reporter
The International Justice Mission chapter at Mekerre University in Kampala, Uganda, is the first IJM chapter in Africa. College students from IJM chapters around the world, including ACU, were invited to celebrate its founding in late 2007. But the students’ battle against injustice met violent resistance March 20 with the kidnapping of the chapter’s vice president, Maureen Namusobya.
Namusobya was missing for four days. Ssebadduka Patrick, member of the Ugandan IJM chapter, e-mailed Lizz Alvarez (’05), details of the event. Rescuers finally discovered Namusobya “thrown alongside a railroad” in critical condition, according to Patrick’s e-mail. She had been knocked out with chloroform, beaten severely and was unable to communicate with her rescuers. Police used her cell phone, left in her possession, to notify her parents, who took her to Jinja Hospital in Kampala.
Brandon Smith (’08), former IJM campus chapter president, and Chanelle Wactor, co-president of IJM campus chapter this year, were in attendance at the Ugandan IJM chapter’s founding celebration in 2007.
After returning to school, Wactor set up a pen pal system between members of the ACU chapter and the Ugandan chapter. Alvarez was the first to be notified of the kidnapping by Patrick.
“We can represent a campus chapter without persecution,” said Donny Tapie, senior Biblical text major from Orlando, Fla., and co-president of IJM campus chapter. “I admire them for doing what they’re doing when people want to kill them.”
Tapie said he was hopeful for Namusobya’s recovery and continued leadership in the Ugandan chapter.
“She wouldn’t want IJM to be intimidated but continue to press on and seek justice,” he said. “An attack on the chapter is an attack on the future of IJM in that country.”
Tapie said the ACU chapter also is praying for the perpetrators, not only that they would be brought to justice, but that they would repent of their actions too.
“I think it really testifies to the good work that they’re doing that they threaten those who would do injustice,” said Abby Trejo, senior biology major from Ulysses, Kan., and secretary of IJM campus chapter.
Namusobya is recovering and plans on running for president of the Ugandan chapter at the end of this year, according to an e-mail from Smith.