23 December 2012

Uganda: Witchdoctor Held Over Child Sacrifice

He had been told that in order to get rich, he had to kill someone, drain blood and offer it for sacrifice. So when an opportunity knocked, David Rumanzi, a witchdoctor, looked no farther than his relative's home and picked his five-year-old nephew Godfrey Ashabire on December 15.

He convinced the boy's guardian to let his nephew escort him to a nearby shop so that he could buy him a cake. Because they trusted him, they let the boy go with him. But Rumanzi was planning to kill the boy for ritual purposes.

Ashabire, a P1 pupil at Bwizibwera Town School and a son to Nkuba Gaston of Kagongi in Kashari, was found murdered, his blood sucked and his body dumped in a swamp three hours later.

"I did not detect any harm, since he was an uncle to the deceased," reveals Charity who was taking care of him.

She sat back relieved knowing anytime the boy would return. Slowly, the minutes turned into hours. At around 11:00pm, the anxious mother went out in search of the two.

The mother stumbled on Rumanzi who was making his way back to the house. "He looked unstable and the first thing I asked him was where is my son was?"

On moving closer, she saw blood on Rumanzi's shirt. When she asked what had happened, Rumanzi confessed to her that he had killed the boy. And as evidence, he showed the mother a jerrycan containing the deceased's blood.

She let out a loud wail, attracting the attention of her neighbours who on reaching the scene started beating up Rumanzi.

Police was called immediately and the suspect led them to a swamp where he had dumped the body.

"We found when residents were almost killing him and we dispersed them," says Polly Namaye the Western Region Police spokesperson.

"We found the body in a swamp lying in a pool of blood," said Namaye, adding that the body was taken to Mbarara Hospital for postmortem.

The Police said Rumanzi will be charged with murder. The suspect was also subjected to medical tests to determine his sanity.

Namaye urged parents against trusting people basing on face value. Police statistics indicate that last year alone, more than 200 cases of murder and disappearances linked to ritual ceremonies were reported. Though the figure is slightly lower than in 2008 that stood at 300, the figures are still worrying.

Over the recent past, there have been several high-profile arrests of parents and relatives accused of selling children for human sacrifice. The most prominent being that of city businessman Kato Kajubi currently serving a life sentence in Luzira.

Most people engaging in these disgusting practices do so out of ignorance. Many are led to believe they will receive wealth and success from supernatural sources in exchange for child sacrifices.

Earlier this year, panic hit the central region following a wave of murders that were linked to ritual sacrifices. The most affected districts were Mubende, Wakiso, Mityana, Luwero, Kiboga and Nakasongola.

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