Boy mauled by chimps to undergo surgery in NY

2016-01-05 12:58
Dunia Sibomana poses with Dr Alexander Dagum, chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Stony Brook Children's Hospital in New York. (Mike Balsamo, AP)

Dunia Sibomana poses with Dr Alexander Dagum, chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Stony Brook Children's Hospital in New York. (Mike Balsamo, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Stony Brook - Dunia Sibomana was considered the lucky one two years ago when a group of chimpanzees jumped from the trees and attacked him and two other boys as they played near a reserve in their native Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Dunia, unlike the others, survived. But he was severely disfigured: His lips ripped off and one cheek torn apart, leaving him with muscle damage that make it hard for him to eat, swallow and communicate.

Eight-year-old Dunia is now set to undergo rare and complicated surgery at a Long Island hospital that will use tissue and muscle from his forearm to recreate both lips. The hope is that he will once again be able to open and close his mouth and eat and talk normally.

"As you can imagine, not having any lips, the food can just come right out," said Dr. Leon Klempner, an associate professor of dentistry at Stony Brook Children's Hospital, where Dunia will undergo the operation. "He drools all the time and can't pronounce different words."

The eight-hour procedure will be the first of three major operations for Dunia, who was brought from the Congo in November with the help of the nonprofit foundation Smile Rescue for Kids.

Dr Alexander Dagum, the hospital's chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery, said he believed there were only three other documented cases where the same surgery had been performed. The hospital is covering the cost of the surgery and the doctors have all donated their time.

Since the attack, in which Dunia's four-year-old brother and a young cousin were killed, Dunia has been the target of bullies and become shy and withdrawn. In his short time in the United States, he has been living with a host family on Long Island, attending elementary school and learning English in addition to his native Swahili.

"We're feeling very optimistic," Klempner said. "We're hoping after the surgery he'll re-integrate into society and perhaps go back to school or have some semblance of a normal life."

Read more on:    us

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.