NTV Uganda today reported that the Ugandan police finally arrested Eritrean business mogul Mihretab Sium Temelso following several allegations of abuse, rape and trafficking from the Eritrean community in Uganda.
The report says Mihretab Sium, who has allegedly been trafficking girls to Uganda from Eritrea and Rwanda, has been arrested on allegations of a number of rape and one defilement cases.
However, his lawyer dismisses the charges saying his client is simply being targeted by powerful business rivals.
Being a very successful and powerful, self-made businessman in South Sudan and Uganda, in a relatively very short time, since 2006 to be specific, it is natural for Mihretab Sium to qualify for a number of rivals that wanted him fail.
The exceptionally strange but strong relationship he developed with the most powerful authorities in Juba and in some extent in Kampala grately helped Mr. Mihretab to come out victories over his rivals, opponents and ill wishers.
He routinely though accused of abusing his power and mistreating fellow Eritreans in Juba and Kampala. There are many others as well who can not thank him enough for his unreserved assistance during some critical situations using his high profile connections.
As complaints of threats and abuses on Eritreans in Juba culminates, the Embassy first took measure by temporarily confiscating his passport. He was also briefly detained in Asmara in connection to these alleged abuses before he was released on bail that comes with a stern warning.
It wasn’t lost to Mr Mihretab that not all of his challenges get resolution through people of high power, especially family problem.
In 2013, Mihretab Sium brought a young girl called Yorsalem Teweldebrhan Debessai from Eritrea who later become his daughter-in-law. In this seemingly a wealthy and happy family, somewhere, somehow a crisis started to evolve.
According to Yorsalem Teweldebrhan, born in 1997, she came to Uganda on March 2013 only because Mr. Mihretab Sium convinced her parents to provide her with opportunity for a better life and education so that when she reached adulthood, she would be the wife of his son Henok Mihretab Sium.
However, the first day she arrived to Kampala, Yorsalem said, she was told to sleep on the same bed with his son — contrary to what he was promised earlier. Soon she get pregnant.
But that is not where her problem ends. In fact it was just started. Yorsalem Teweldebrhan is now accusing Mihretab Sium of sexually abusing her while she was a minor and living under him for three years. Mr. Mihretab Sium denies the allegation.
On May 12th, 2016, Ugandan newspaper New Vision brakes the story about the ensuing marriage crisis between Mihretab Sium’s son and his daughter-in-law Yorsalem that involves a crime of elopement. The Kajjansi grade one court convicted a certain Hermon Habtemicael to 10 months in prison for eloping with a married woman.
According to the story, the unhappy Yorsalem Teweldebrhan had had a five month sexual relationship with Hermon, an Eritrean businessman from Kampala, who later helped her escape to Turkey with him leaving behind her one year and eight month daughter.
According to the evidence brought to the court, Mr. Hermon admitted the two were using Mihretab Sium’s bedroom for their sexual affairs when her husband Henok and his father Mihretab Sium were away on official duties.
Yorusalem, however, strongly disagree with that. She said Hermon Habtemichael is not a guy that she eloped with but a messenger for her family that just tasked to secure her rescue.
It seems that Mihretab pulled some of his high profile strings to trace both of them up to Istanbul. However, all his efforts to bring her back to Kampala was not successful. Up on return to Kampala from his little ‘honeymoon’, Hermon Habtemicael was detained and charged with elopement.
As for Yorsalem, she looked so determined to bring her abuser to justice. She already reported a litany of crimes committed by Mihretab Sium up on her and many other victims with the Belgian police, the Interpol, the Eritrean and Ugandan embassy in Brussels.
After collecting all the allegations and evidence, the Ugandan police today reacted by detaining and charging Mihretab Sium on counts of trafficking, rape and defilement.
Mr. Mihretab Sium is still innocent until proven guilty. However, it is always good for the reader to have a glimpse of the allegations made by Yorsalem Teweldebrhan for judgment purposes and here we are copying her testimony in its entirety.
My name is Yorusalem Teweldebrha, born on 25/12/1997 and on the 31st of March 2013 came to Uganda Kampala because Mr. Mihretab convinced my parents and myself that he would give me an opportunity for better education and life and that when I reach adulthood, some time in the future, would become the wife to his son Henok Mihretab.
But the promised bright future started to disappear the moment I arrived in Kampala, Uganda. On that first day in his house I was told that I sleep on the same bed with his son — contrary to what was promised to my parents. And I soon was pregnant.
The day he started to sexually abuse me started like this. One day, he called me to his room upstairs and orderd me to take off my clothes. When I refused he started to beat me until I stopped resisting and then he raped me. I cried and out of desperation went to his son [Henok] to tell him about what has happened. But he convinced his son that he only tried to heal me from my “spiritual illness” and was only trying to pray for me. His son believed this version of the story and sided with his father. From that day on he did whatever he wanted with impunity. He terrorized me by saying that he would kill me if I ever said anything about this to any one.
There was this woman, Yordanos Alazar, in the house who was his wife but he used to order her to kiss his son in front of me and he would say that he likes that his wife sleep with his son. He would then order her to do as he wants and she would do as ordered. Yordanos fled his house after so many abuses by Mihretab. When she escaped, suspecting I had something to do with this, I was beaten up and verbally tortured.
There was also another Ethiopian woman named Feven [last name not known] who was working for him in Juba, South Sudan. He raped her and made her pregnant. After she had the baby he promised her that he would marry her and brought her to Kampala. But upon her arrival he beat her up in front of us and took her son and kicked her out. She cried and begged him to at least leave her son. But after beating her up he forcibly deported her from Uganda without her son.
And there was also another Eritrean woman that he brought from Eritrea. Her name is Meaza [last name not known]. When they were flying in from Eritrea they had a flight transit at Cairo and had to stay in a hotel en route to Uganda. At the hotel, he forcibly raped her in her hotel room. And when she finally arrived to his house in Kampala he continued to abuse her sexually. Then after about three days she escaped the house and I never heard from her since.
Another Eritrean woman, named Terhas [last name also not known] was the home teacher of his little daughter Rahwa. She was also physically attacked and beaten up when she asked for her salary. He even tried to rape her one night but she screamed so loud and because all of us heard it he spared her that night and she escaped the next day.
He also brought another girl named Stephania Filbato who is a Rwandese national and that he befriended on the internet. He lied to her that he was was able to secure her visa to France and take her there and when she came to his house he raped her. She returned to her country crying.
There was also this girl Maurine a Rwandese national that he brought from Juba, South Sudan. After sexually abusing her he kicked her back to Rwanda saying that she is useless.
Another Ruwandese by the name Annette was also staying in his house as a baby sitter. This girl also used to be raped on a regular basis.
But of all the physical and sexual abuses that he subjected to all of us, the most cruel and horrible to even think about is the one that he did to his own eight year old daughter Rahwa. He would call her to his room and have sex with her. This he does on many occasions. He would say that he is only doing this because he loves her so much and dearly as a father. He would tell her that she should learn to have sex with her father first. He even tells her that unless she has sex with her father first she will die.
One day I noticed that she started to have an infection and she was really itching badly her vagina. I even noticed that she was having an infectious fluid in her vagina. I suggested to Mihretab that he takes her to hospital to get it checked. But he dismissed my concern and he ordered me to wash her and bath her only and mind my own business.
When he went to Eritrea he was arrested because of charges against him for similar crimes but later released on guarantee of a person. Upon his return from Eritrea he also brought another girl named Kokobe Kiros. She was not spared the physical and sexual abuse that many before her went through in his house. She was physically abused so much that she miscarried her two months baby. She was taken to the hospital at the time to get medical intervention. At another occasion he hit her face that her face was cut and she needed to go to hospital. At the hospital he even told the medical staf with impunity that he was the one that hit her because she was bringing attention upon her self.
It was with this girl, Kokobe Kiros that I finally escaped from the hell-hole that was Mihretab’s house. At the time of our flight from his house there was another pregnant woman named Abrehet [last name not known] that he brought from Eritrea. He had told us that she was there only to have his children, but I learned that he has returned her back to Eritrea after we left; I believe it’s because he realized that we were bringing these charges on him.
Having suffered for the past three years under this monster, Mihretab, I took all the courage I could muster and escaped on the 23rd of November 2015. I immediately made a formal written and verbal statement to the Ugandan police station and the Eritrean Embassy at Uganda [see attached document].
During my escape, my sister, who lives in Brussels, Belgium called some distant relatives to help me find refuge and shelter. However, they were very reluctant to help citing that they fear Mihretab and instead wanted me to reconcile peacefully with him. It’s at this time that she contacted Hermon Habtemicael to help us.
At our desperate hours Hermon put his life on the line to help us. He gave us psychological, moral and humanitarian help. I can’t thank him enough for the help he provided me at that dark and desperate time. Given the dangerous nature of Mihretab it was so brave and selfless of him to offer help risking his life and well being. Because he helped me, Mihretab threatened him several times and literally said that he would kill him unless he hands me to him. But he put his life and safety on the line in order to protect me from this evil person.
All the allegations on Hermon by Mihretab are all pure fabrications and lies. He had threatened him that he would destroy and kill him if didn’t hand me to him and all these charges and allegations are just because he refused to cower to his threats.
He has also made several threats on my life. That he would track me and go anywhere I live and kill me. I think it’s perhaps because I witnessed so many of the crimes [which I tried to enumerate here] he had committed in his house; because I know how wicked and evil he is. Mihretab is dangerous to even his own children and I always feel for those poor children that are living under his roof. I have sleepless nights thinking about my own poor little daughter who is going to grow under this evil person. I cry every night and can’t sleep when I think about what he might do to her.
I therefore would like that this person be brought to justice for the crimes he has committed on so many innocent individuals.