Assaulted Burundi youngster shows signs of improvement

A loving father's patient wait is finally bearing fruit, albeit very slowly. For the last six months, Nestor Ntibateganya, from the East African country of Burundi, has been sitting beside his son, Yaanick Nihangaza, at a private hospital in Patiala.

Yaanick, a student at a private university in Jalandhar, is in a coma after being brutally assaulted by a group of youngsters about six months ago. Now, doctors at Patiala's Columbia Asia Hospital say Yannick's condition is showing signs of improvement. He has finally been able to open his eyes and slightly move his left hand.

"I felt a little relieved when my son opened his eyes. I am waiting to hear his voice. From his eye movement, it appears that he is recognising me. A few of his friends also visited him and it appeared from his eyes that he recognised them also. His sister has also landed here on Tuesday," Nestor told The Indian Express on Wednesday.

"The boy has shown some signs of improvement, but it is very very slow. As on date, we can say that he is out of coma. His vital organs have shown signs of improvement. Our doctors are trying their best to treat him," said Ashim, the general manager of the hospital.

The Punjab government has been bearing Yaanick's medical costs and has even offered to fly him back to Burundi in an air ambulance. On the government's offer, Nestor said: "I do not know if it is safe for me to take Yaanick in this condition. If the doctors say it is safe, I will take him home as our family has not seen us for last many months, and they are also praying and waiting for their son to be back."

Hospital authorities, however, said that any decision on shifting Yaanick will have to be taken by the state government.

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