Bullet lodged in my body 'too dangerous to remove' - Lissu

06Jan 2018
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Bullet lodged in my body 'too dangerous to remove' - Lissu
  • Kenyan doctors tell the outspoken opposition lawmaker that the removal of the bullet could endanger his life

THE Singida East Member of Parliament, Tundu Lissu, who miraculously survived being shot at least 16 times in a brazen daylight assassination attempt in Dodoma in September last year, is now living with one bullet that remains lodged in his body.

Tundu Lissu addresses a press conference at Nairobi Hospital in Kenya yesterday about his attempted assassination. He is flanked by his two sons standing behind him, Agustino and Edward, and CHADEMA leaders, led by party chairman Freeman Mbowe (R).

Lissu, who also serves as CHADEMA's parliamentary chief whip and chairs the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS), told journalists in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, yesterday that doctors say it would be too dangerous to remove the ammo jammed near his waist.

Yet-unknown gunmen ambushed Lissu at his Dodoma residence on Septmber 7 last year in a broad-daylight assassination attempt and unleashed a hail of bullets on his car. 

Incredibly, Lissu lived to tell the tale, despite suffering 16 gunshot wounds. 

He said out of eight bullets that were lodged in his bullet-ridden body after the attack, seven ammunitions were removed by doctors at the Dodoma Regional Hospital and the Nairobi Hospital in Kenya, but one bullet still remains lodged in his body to date, as medics said removing it would be too risky.

After a gruelling four-month recovery, Lissu addressed a press conference in Nairobi yesterday. He is today scheduled to be flown somewhere in Europe for physical rehabilitation after multiple surgeries to enable him to walk again.

“I have undergone 17 surgeries ... Out of the 16 bullets that hit me, eight were lodged in my body. Doctors from Dodoma and Nairobi have managed to remove seven bullets, which means I still remain with one bullet inside my body," Lissu, speaking from a wheelchair, told journalists outside his Nairobi hospital. 

"The bullet has been left inside my body on doctors’ advice, as they told me that while the bullet is harmless if left inside me, it would be dangerous if extracted.” 

Lissu said he believes that the attack on his life was politically-motivated and said the assailants used military-style weapons.

The fiery MP lashed out at the Tanzania Police Force, accusing it of deliberately failing to properly investigate the incident.

He also lamented at the National Assembly for "abandoning" him by not paying his astronomical hospital expenses.

CHADEMA chairman Freeman Mbowe said last week Lissu's hospital costs were now in excess of $350,000 (over 1 billion Tanzanian shillings) and were expected to rise even further.

Lissu, who was flanked by family members including his two sons - Agustino and Edward - and CHADEMA leaders, criticised the police for failing to take a statement from him thus far about the attack.

“Nobody has come to take a police statement from me on this matter ... I guess they never expected me to survive the attack,” said Lissu.

He called on members of the international community to intervene on what he termed as gross violations of human rights in Tanzania.

Lissu said his attack was the first incident in Tanzania's entire history where a politician was gunned down in an assassination-style raid.

The MP said his brutal shooting was aimed at silencing him and was a clear indication of a lack of political tolerance in the country.

Lissu was flown to the Nairobi hospital in September last year after being briefly admitted to the Dodoma hospital following the brazen ambush that shocked the nation.

The lawmaker said he has had a series of run-ins with the government  before the attack, including being arrested at least eight times and previously complained of being "tailed" by unknown people.