Mumino locked in

5. Kidnappings, threats and slow procedures test Mumino’s patience

9 mn read

It has been a good year since we updated you on Mumino and his family. After their flight from Uganda, they encountered several difficulties and they are still awaiting their asylum request to be processed. Being a refugee in Uganda has many complications.

Abductions

October 2022 – Mumino and his family lived in a rental house in Kampala but were forced to move from there, with the help of SUN, after their location was compromised. His wife was abducted twice by her family. The first time she bravely managed to escape from them on the way to the Friday Prayer.

The second time Mumino had to get the police involved, who only wanted to help after payment. Once they received that, they freed his wife. She thankfully was physically unharmed after these two abductions, but was verbally threatened and is still receiving threats currently. This is the cause for them still not being safe. They have moved but now stay inside all day. The eldest child who is 6 now and should attend school, cannot because it is not safe. They live within a fence with several other families but the gate does not lock so it is not very safe. The child can therefore not play outside with the other children. Not a good situation for a child.

“Google is my baby’s doctor”

Google is our doctor

The youngest child who was born prematurely has needed several doctor and hospital appointments which SUN has helped with. The child is now one and a half years old and has several health issues. Currently, they are trying to get her on solid foods but she has allergies and gets sick and loses weight. Mumino says they have to consult a doctor every time they try new food but they can’t do that. “Google is my baby’s doctor,” Mumino says.

Refugee status procedure started

SUN was able to provide Mumino with a solicitor who is assisting him in the procedure to get refugee status. The process has been underway for several months now and Mumino tells us that it can take from 3 months to 2 years. But he also says this month could be important as the Somalian requests will be looked at by the Uganda government and he could possibly get his official refugee status. Once Mumino has an official status, he also should be able to get a work permit and actually work and provide for his family.

In our adoption program we connect sponsors to individual clients. For many of the individuals we helped to escape persecution, a long journey starts to get asylum or a resident permit. Not all the countries they flee to, give support to asylum seekers. In the meantime, they face obstacles to getting paid work and becoming self-supporting. Forming support groups around them to follow helps them with some basic income and some moral support so they get a fair chance to build up a new life. For as much as 5 USD or EURO per month, you can support a client and connect to him or her personally to get regular updates.

Day-to-day life

As Mumino is not able to work, he is home with his family all day. Their current place has a room, a sitting room and a toilet. There is water and electricity and their kitchen is outside. Asked how an average day looks, Mumino tells us that it feels like the day has one million hours in it. He gets up and does household chores with his wife as well as cooking. After that, they watch some cartoons and play with the children. They only go outside if they have to. They don’t really open their door either.

The future

Asked how he views his future he is unsure and perhaps not able to actually envision it since their day-to-day situation is still one of survival and fear. After giving it some thought, he thinks he might want to move to a different country once he has the right refugee status. We’ll continue to be in contact with Mumino and will post updates when they occur.


4. Embattled Atheist finds refuge for family after harrowing airport escape

September 2021 – Gunmen presented one last terrifying obstacle to an atheist’s flight to freedom from Somalia as they almost halted his family’s escape. Mumimo (an alias to protect his identity) reflected on his harrowing trip from the safety of his hotel room in an African country. He recounted how his Somalia escape to a more secure country almost didn’t happen.

“The taxi was stopped by gunmen asking who we are and where we are going,” Mumimo told SUN recently. “I don’t know why but I said we are going to the city (in Somalia). Then they said show us your ticket.”

The gunmen saw the ticket and saw it was to another country. They asked Mumimo again if he was going there and this time he said yes. The gunmen continued to quiz Mumimo about where he was from in Somalia. Eventually, they forced Mumimo and his family out of the car. At one point it appeared the gunmen wouldn’t let Mumimo continue until he revealed the name of his clan elder. Mumino had to make some calls to find the information.

In the end, however, the gunmen were happy to let Mumimo and his family go in return for a bribe. Short of funds but needing to flee, Mumimo paid the bribe. As the taxi sped off from danger and toward the airport, their driver revealed that gunmen regularly kill bajaj drivers (the –three-wheeled taxis).

Mumino had little time to consider the life-threatening drama because they were running late upon arrival at the airport. Authorities hit them up for a baggage fee, then promptly lost some of their baggage and even threatened Mumimo physically.

“We did not sit anywhere at the airport because we were late and I was so eager to see myself on an airplane to a safer place,” Mumimo recounted. “I have never flown on an aeroplane. I was so scared when it was landing and when it was taking off. Maybe because of that I felt pain in ears.”

On top of everything else Mumimo and his family – his wife, her daughter from a previous relationship, their newborn baby daughter and himself – had colds. Their new baby, who was born prematurely, was still suffering from her cold derived from the flight. SUN and supporters like you have made Mumimo’s flight to freedom and religious tolerance possible. The last little while his family was in a hotel in Somalia awaiting the day of their flight.

“Everyday was a long day counting every second and minute,” said Mumimo of the wait.

Now the years of living in fear and fleeing from violence because of his secular beliefs are largely over. This country may not be a paradise of tolerance – Muslim fundamentalists attacked him here once before – but he feels much safer in Kampala than anywhere in Somalia where he had zero safety. His family is once again in a hotel, this time more relaxed, as they search for a home and Mumimo looks for work. But all of that costs money. Every time they look at a home they have to pay a finders fee. And the job hunt – Mumimo has done cabinetry work and truck driving – has not gone well so far.

‬”I can not pay back or give what you have done for me but I promise when I find a job I will be part of you to support those in need.”

“I don’t have a working permit and I have a family to feed. I don’t know how I will manage that. I myself can survive anywhere without a single coin, but I have a family.”

Mumino and his family need your support to get him started in his new country. He is extremely grateful for everything SUN has done so far.


3. Fear and hope as Mumino’s Family Waits to Escape Somalia to Safe Haven

May 2021 – Mumino had been living quietly as a Muslim for much of his life. It wasn’t until he converted to Christianity in 2006 that his fellow countrymen noticed his change and began to attack him. As he fled
from place to place, he found he wasn’t safe – his beliefs led to more attacks and arrests without charge, no matter where he went. Then he became an atheist. 

In 2017 authorities took his wife and daughter. He found himself continually outed – no matter where he fled – and at times literally running for his life. Arrested, tortured by police, and repeatedly attacked by mobs, Mumino spends every night fearing what will come in the morning, and longing to be free to live his life without constant fear. 

As a man with UNHCR status, Mumino needs extraction from his country. We have a plan to help get him with his wife and her 5-year-old daughter to a safer place, but we can’t do it without the help of our donors. Please consider contributing to his cause.

How SUN is helping Mumino and his family

We are making a plan to help Mumino and his family travel abroad, get a permit to stay, find a job and start building up a new life. For this, we work together with partners in the region, and we support them with living costs, passports, vaccinations, travel costs and tickets. Expenses: $ 500 per month + $ 1900 relocation.


2. COVID, Baby, Death Threats and Medical Bills create chaos

May 2021 – Mumimo thought his anxiety-filled life hiding his family from death threats was hard enough. He didn’t count on COVID-19 putting his wife in the hospital followed by the premature birth of his daughter.

“It was really a life challenge I can say,” explained Mumimo. “When you are sick and everyone in the family is sick and hiding from enemies and financially broke is a challenge.”

As we’ve previously reported, SUN has been working with Mumimo and his wife and her five-year-old daughter to get them to a safe country where Mumimo’s atheist views are tolerated. For now they hide out in the African nation of his birth because his atheism in a land known for blasphemy laws and violence against “heretics” is inherently dangerous. Police have arrested and tortured Mumimo and mobs have repeatedly attacked him. Men once beat his wife and her daughter with electrical wires when they came looking for Mumino and found his family instead.

Mumimo and his family hide in a one-room apartment and only venture out at night. They are working with SUN and our sponsors to get to a safe haven. But even this dangerous life became more chaotic when Mumimo and his pregnant wife contracted COVID. His symptoms were minor but she was seriously ill and needed to be hospitalized.

COVID caused their daughter to be born prematurely at seven and a half months. Mumimo says the baby is in an incubator and doing well despite being so tiny. And his wife has recovered too.

“What we are going through can not be explained but can be felt,” Mumimo told SUN. “It really affected us mentally and physically and financially. We still feel the fatigue.”

Mumimo’s wife and newborn daughter remain in the hospital. And that has created a massive financial burden. Mumimo said the incubator and his wife’s treatment cost money he doesn’t have. “There is no free medicine or doctors when it comes to COVID or chronic diseases,” he said.

SUN has helped with some costs, as did a man at the hospital whose child died and he gave Mumimo money for his medical fees.

We still need your help to pay medical bills and help secure transit to a tolerant country on the African continent. Only then can Mumimo’s family be safe. In the meantime, Mumimo must risk his life just to go to the hospital to see his new daughter and his wife.

“I move when it is dark and, when I have money, I book a taxi. Luckily because of corona virus everyone must wear a face mask so it helps me cover half of my face,” Mumimo explained.


1. Their lives are a terrifying blend of boredom and fear

February 2021 – Mumino and his family hide every day in a small, unfurnished, one-room apartment fearing for their lives. And the only thing worse than the days are the nights.

Mumino (not his real name to ensure his safety), his pregnant wife and her 5-year-old daughter from another relationship, hide away in this African nation of his birth because of his atheism in a land known for blasphemy laws and violence against “heretics.” He recently shared with SUN his fears and hopes for a brighter future.

Arrested, tortured by police, and repeatedly attacked by mobs, Mumino spends every night fearing what will come in the morning. His wife and her daughter have been beaten with electrical wires when men came looking for Mumino and found his family instead. Mumino longs to be free to live his life without constant fear and get work as a cabinet maker.

Mumino rarely leaves the house unless it is for an urgent matter. He will use the toilet facilities outside during the day. But never at night

The apartment is one room with no furniture. Blankets and pillows cover the floor. A large plastic sheet on the floor serves as their makeshift dining area. Men came to his house a few times, firing guns.

“I hope one day I will wake up and sleep without fear,” said Mumino. “We normally wake up at 7 am, then eat our breakfast,” he explained. “I planted tomato, maize and beans inside the house.

Normally his wife goes to the market to buy their food. He ventures out only if pressed.

“Yes, like when applying for passports – and there is a time my wife was bleeding – thanks to SUN they saved my wife (she is pregnant),” recounted Mumino. He spends his time reading articles and watching shows with his wife. “We watch one or two movies together. I also save articles to read,” said Mumino, who learned English pretty well from watching movies with subtitles. He struggles with the stress and the ennui. “Sometimes it gets really boring,” he said. “I am always indoors trying to hide myself from the enemies.”

SUN with your help has assisted Mumino with passports, vaccination certificates and getting medication for his family. But they urgently need to move to a safe country on the African continent where their lives are not threatened because of Mumino’s secular beliefs.


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