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Witch doctors are sacrificing children in drought-stricken Uganda

A child eats biscuit in the town of Kataba near Kampala, Uganda on August 22, 2017. Children here continue to live in constant fear of being kidnapped and sacrificed. Kidnappers or witchdoctors have been accused of using biscuits and soda to seduce children. Photo by Doreen Ajiambo

A child eats a biscuit in the town of Kataba near Kampala, Uganda, on Aug. 22, 2017. Children here live in constant fear of being kidnapped and sacrificed. Kidnappers or witch doctors have been accused of using biscuits and soda to seduce children. Photo by Doreen Ajiambo

KATABI, Uganda (RNS) — Jackline Mukisa sobbed as she described how her 8-year-old son was found in a nearby swamp in February without teeth, lips, ears and genitals.

“My innocent son died a painful death,” said Mukisa, 28. “How could somebody intend to murder my son?”

A motorcyclist offered John Lubega a lift as he walked back from school, according to fellow students who saw him last. His remains suggest he was slowly killed as part of a human sacrifice ritual performed by witch doctors, apparently to appease the spirits, said Mukisa, who filed a police report.

No arrest has been made so far.

In this landlocked country whose diverse landscape includes the snow-capped Ruwenzori Mountains and immense Lake Victoria, many believe sacrificial rituals can bring quick wealth and health.

Among those rituals, human sacrifice, especially of children, occurs frequently despite the government’s efforts to stop it.

Parents accompany children to school in Busia town in east part of Uganda on September 5, 2017. Children here continue to live in constant fear of being kidnapped and sacrificed on their way to school. Photo by Doreen Ajiambo

Seven children and two adults were sacrificed last year, said Moses Binoga, a police officer who heads Uganda’s Anti-Human Sacrifice and Trafficking Task Force. Seven children and six adults were sacrificed in 2015.

But experts said the number could be much higher.

Times are tough in Uganda, and people are looking to sacrifices to improve their fortunes. The worst drought in over half a century has hit parts of East Africa, leaving more than 11 million people in this landlocked nation facing food insecurity and 1.6 million on the brink of famine, according to the Ugandan government.

“There is no food due to the ongoing drought, and some believe that this has been brought by ancestral spirits,” said Joel Mugoya, a traditional healer. “So there is a high desire for people to conduct sacrifices so that they come out of this problem.”

Recently, Uganda police arrested 44 suspects in Katabi, a town 24 miles from the capital, Kampala, in connection with a spate of killings of children and women. Half of the suspects have been charged in court, including two alleged masterminds.

Uganda Police Inspector General Kale Kayihura said one suspect confessed to killing eight women. More than 21 women have been killed between May 3 and Sept. 4, Kayihura said.

“The murders were for ritual sacrifices,” he told residents last week. “We are working hard to arrest the remaining suspects and end the practice.”

Francis Bahati’s wife was among the victims. He discovered her body after three days of searching. Her fingers and feet had been cut off for ritual purposes, likely in hopes of securing better fortunes.

“I was shocked and even lost consciousness,” he said.

Last year police arrested Herbert Were, a resident of Busia town in eastern Uganda, for beheading his 8-year-old brother, Joel Ogema. Were, 21, confessed to police that he killed his brother in hopes of attaining wealth.

Church leaders are teaming up with police to end the brutal practice.

Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga, who heads Kyampisi Childcare Ministries, a Christian organization that fights child sacrifice in Uganda, said children disappear in the country every week. They are often found dead, or alive with missing body parts.

Most survivors or victims do not file police reports, Sewakiryanga said, adding that he implores victims to come forward.

“It’s a serious problem but we are fighting it with the help of the government,” he said.

Sacrifices often involve removing body parts, blood or tissue while the child is still alive.

“It’s a brutal ritual that destroys the lives of our children and affects their parents mentally,” he added. “We are working with the police to arrest witch doctors involved in the ritual. We are also assisting the survivors financially and with moral support.”

Sewakiryanga said his charity worked with Ugandan police three years ago to arrest a witch doctor and his accomplices who sacrificed a 7-year-old girl named Suubi.

The witch doctor drained her blood and cut out her genitals, he said. He then cut the neck and drained the blood of the girl’s 10-year-old brother, Kanani.

A woman narrates how her friend was found murdered and her body mutilated recently in Kataba town, near Kampala, Uganda, on Sept. 13, 2017. Police said more than 20 women have been killed in gruesome manners between May 3 and Sept. 4 in the region. Photo by Doreen Ajiambo

In June, a Ugandan court sentenced the witch doctor to life in prison.

Fears of witch doctors have hurt women who practice traditional medicine, however.

According to KidsRights, a global organization that fights for the rights of children, Uganda has 650,000 registered traditional healers and an estimated 3 million unregistered practitioners. Unscrupulous witch doctors hide among so-called healers, the group said.

“They should arrest people who murdered my son,” Mukisa said. “The government is doing little to protect our children. They must begin to arrest all witch doctors.”

But Sewakiryanga said arresting everyone claiming to practice medicine was going too far. He hoped to end the practice by changing the hearts of those who promote human sacrifice.

Efforts to end the practice need to expand, he said. Other countries in Africa reported to be practicing child sacrifice include Tanzania, Nigeria, Swaziland, Liberia, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

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Doreen Ajiambo

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  • Okay folks. It’s that tragic “Pact-Making” gig that missionary George Otis warned about. Cutting business deals with raw demons — I mean the nature deities. Glad there’s no “pact-making” in the USA; we’re way too close to Jer. 18:9-10 already.

    But wait! The high-class “Queen of Camelot”, the longtime national journalist, WaPo-aligned, and DC insider Sally Quinn, recently admitted she KILLED three people using witchcraft — with no apologies, no accountability, to this very day?

    And Billboard top 200-lister, singing star Lana Del Rey? Tweeting all her fans to join in a massive spell-casting witchy-poo against President Trump? “Ingredients can be found Online”, she says? “Yeah, I did it, why not?” she says? “I’m in line with Yoko Ono and John Lennon”, she says?

    And every single month, “tens of thousands of witches” casting a spell against Trump, according to well-known Hollywood occult-shop owner Vicky Adams (to AOL News).

  • Your source for the alleged acts of Sally Quinn…primarily for confirmation purposes? Beyond that, while I don’t discount the dangers of such practices as you describe here in the U.S….particularly from the spiritual perspective, the acts described in this article are plainly barbaric and doubtless demonically inspired. The problem in the “rational” West is the notion that such spiritual entities do not exist, and conversely that they can be personally beneficial, which defies rationality by any definition.

  • Witchcraft, like Christianity, is just another manifestation of supernatural nonsense. Believing in it doesn’t make it true.

  • Any proof for that? And as a scientifically minded person, you should already know that absence of proof is not proof itself. So again, please provide proof that the supernatural does not exist. I’ll give you a hint. You can’t prove it, you just believe it. Sure, religious people can’t prove it either, but you are both two sides of the same coin of belief over facts. The simple truth is you don’t know if there is more to life than what you see. No one does.

  • Your logic is faulty. One cannot prove a negative. But if one makes an assertion, I.e., the supernatural exists, the burden is on you.

    There is not the slightest credible evidence that the supernatural exists. That is NOT the same thing as saying that the supernatural does not exist. People at Fatima saw the sun dance at Fatima. Many people at Fatima and People a few miles away did not see the sun dance. There were no meteorological phenomena that would be associated with such a phenomenon observed anywhere.

    in Factfreeland, the supernatural exists. In the rest of the world, probably not.

  • Well, if a well-known shop owner says tens of thousands of witches are casting spells against the hero of the Christian Right, it must be true.

    Just like exodus cured tens of thousands of homosexuals of their spiritual affliction.

    Just like you can get pizza AND a side of kiddy porn in the basement of hillary’s pizzeria in Washington.

  • You can google sally Quinn murder and find out all of the fits that news to print.

    Floyd, being spiritually and morally obtuse, equates Quinn’s lifelong belief in the occult and its magical efficacy, based upon a statement of her beliefs about “hexes” she has “cast”, with actual murders of children in a highly religious nation like Uganda…

    People who also want gay people thrown in prison, and Who apparently have not yet graduated from the Idi Amin Beauty Academy.

  • Ben summed it up nicely. I don’t know that anything does or does not exist outside of the natural world. You make claims based on a 2600 year old book with absolutely no independent evidence and beyond logic and common sense and I have to prove you wrong??? Your lack of knowledge of the scientific method and Logic is what allows you to believe this stuff.

  • Would you believe RNS itself is the confirmation for Sally Quinn’s lethal pact-making? Surprise surprise!

    http://religionnews.com/2017/09/12/sally-quinn-magic-and-meaning/

    (Slight footnote: This RNS article says that Quinn “has hexed people to devastating effect”, but that’s the sanitized wording. The Daily Mail, W Magazine, and Breitbart all point out that each of the hex victims died. A rather “devastating effect”, it would seem.)

  • You are perfectly welcome to rationally refute occult shop-owner Vicky Adams’ claim, Ben. No objections from me.

    But you’d better get cracking on your homework quickly, because according to the BBC News online (Feb. 25th),
    “A Facebook group devoted to the ritual has attracted over 10,500 likes.”

    This fact shows that Adams’ estimate is quite plausible. So I await your rational refutation.

  • Quoted: “There is no food due to the ongoing drought, and some believe that this has been brought by ancestral spirits,” said Joel Mugoya, a traditional healer. “So there is a high desire for people to conduct sacrifices so that they come out of this problem.” 

    Oh come on. Is it really necessary to offer this kind of apologia for this practice? Tons of places are going through terrible hardship, but human sacrifice doesn’t go on in most of them. 

  • This in todays news from that bastion of civilization and heterosexual and Christian values. (whatever you do, don’t google “Christian Polygamy in Africa”. It will make me look like I’m being sarcastic or sumpin’.

    From the WaPo: “As lawmakers debated one of the country’s most important bills, Uganda’s parliament turned into an ultimate fighting ring. Parliamentarians hurled chairs at each other and swung microphone stands like swords. Men were torn from the room by their blazers and women by their dresses. Some people wailed and cried.

    That fight exposed the bitter rift between lawmakers who support President Yoweri Museveni’s efforts to extend his rule and those who oppose it. Museveni, 73, has been president for 31 years.

    Uganda’s constitution says no one older than 75 can run for president, which would effectively prevent Museveni from running for reelection in 2021. Some parliamentarians want to introduce a bill that would change that law, allowing the president to extend his rule.

    Museveni is among a growing group of African leaders — in Zimbabwe, Burundi, Rwanda, Congo and other countries — who are trying to stay in power by changing or defying their countries’ laws.

  • Re: “So again, please provide proof that the supernatural does not exist.”.

    Please provide proof that dragons & unicorns don’t exist. If you can’t, or won’t, then by your own logic, you are required to assume they exist.

    … so how’s that argumentum ad ignorantiam working for you, now? Do you understand the absurdity of using it to coerce people into believing any preposterous thing you cook up and then hurl at them? It’s grade-school thinking, and beneath grown adults to use.

    Yes, I know it’s age-old Christian apologetics … but it remains infantile, illogical, and invalid.

  • Based on this fairly recent article (which I missed), the question uppermost in my mind is: Why would any putatively rational and sympathetic human being even desire to hex her fellow creatures? Such an attitude is beyond me, at least since I became a Christian decades ago.

  • Since viewing the article, I would agree that what is happening in Uganda, and what Sally Quinn has claimed are not remotely in the same league cause and effect wise. My consternation with her, as I pointed out to Floydlee, is rather: Why would an educated and presumably rational sympathetic human being stoop to the level hexing those with whom she has had difficulties?

  • Why are we so aghast at human sacrifice in Uganda when thousands of babies in utero are sacrificed every day on the alter of “convenience” in the US via elective abortion? Our most vulnerable children who are only guilty of being unloved. The children in Uganda at least have a chance to escape before they are slaughtered. Here, not so much.

  • Lack of evidence??!!! Look all around you! Look within yourself! The most basic scientific fact, easily verified by everything we experience every day, is that NOTHING creates itself!!! Nothing in our man-made world comes into existence without some original concept in the mind of someone, and some active, deliberate endeavor to bring that concept into reality. The same is true in the natural world. Someone had to conceive the initial design, then actually implement that design to create all this! ALL THIS — so magnificently ordered and perfect!!!!! Order does not just happen by itself with no original Source of Organization. Please. God, the Creator is “the Most Hidden of the hidden, AND the Most Manifest of the manifest.” The existence of the natural world could not be more evident of the existence of Something outside it — it’s Creator. The world within us — our spiritual reality (thoughts, creativity, imagination, logic, and rationality, love, kindness, etc., which are completely intangible but which we KNOW definitely exist) — is evidence of the Spiritual, Intangible, Reality outside ourselves Which created us and everything of which we are capable.

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