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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Comatose African student airlifted to home country

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Patiala, June 16, 2014
First Published: 08:42 IST(16/6/2014) | Last Updated: 18:44 IST(16/6/2014)

Burundi national Yannick Nihangaza, in coma for the last two years after being assaulted, was airlifted to his home country on Monday morning.

The Punjab government has paid Rs. 75 lakh for arranging an air ambulance, which lifted Nihangaza from Patiala Airport, where cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra and DC Varun Roozam were present to see off Yannick and his father Nestor Ntibateganya.

Yannick has been in coma for two years now, fighting for his life at a private hospital after some youths assaulted him in Jalandhar where he was pursuing a bachelor's degree in computer science at Lovely Professional University.

Dr Parvez Aslam of Saras Rescue told media persons: "Our team of aero-medically trained professionals follows strict medical transport procedures and protocol, with the patient's well- being as our primary consideration." He said the team will brief the African doctors about the treatment provided to Nihangaz.

Cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra said that the government has not only taken care of all the medical expenses, but also paid the expense of airlifting Nihangaza in a special air ambulance to his home country. He said that the accused is the case are already behind bars. Nihangaza has been provided medicines for two months by the the government for his ongoing treatment.

Yannick was attacked when he was going for a party on April 22, 2012. Seven of the nine attackers, who were students, have already been sentences to 10 years' jail.

Nester thanked Rakhra and DC Varun Rozzam. He was confused over his decision as he feels that his nation is not well equipped to treat his son.

"I sent my son to this country to study. He was a harmless, great child and outstanding student who was constantly busy learning the skills needed for his future... He was not out on the street to learn how to kill, steal or do other kind of evil like that done to him by these killers who are the citizens of your great nation," he had written chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on June 20, 2012.

"I am writing to you as a father writing to another father, someone who has known and experienced love of a child and has given care and love to other human beings like you," he had said, after which Badal announced that the government would bear all of Nihangaza's medical expenses.

Meanwhile, the Colombia Asia hospital in Patiala has handed over the bill for Nihangaza's treatment to SDM Gurpal Singh Chahal. Sources said that a bill of Rs. 3.5 crore has been submitted to the authorities for Nihangaza's treatment.

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