Uganda: some reflections on human sacrifice

Human sacrifice is a widespread phenomenon in Uganda while some specific regions are notoriously known for their ritualistic killings. Yesterday, November 5, I posted an article on the sentencing of a man from Mayunge District who had killed his son for personal gain in 2017, and the day before, on November 4, I posted an article on a mother in the Kiira region who had killed two of her children, also for ritual purposes. These are not isolated cases as the following demonstrates.

Districts of Uganda – Wikipedia

Two witchdoctors in the Kamuli District were arrested earlier this year, suspected of a ritual child sacrifice while in Luwero District on January 7 an 8-year boy was kidnapped from his family’s courtyard and found back without head, fingers and toes. In November 2022 two men from Kayunga District were found guilty of child sacrifice committed in 2009. Within Uganda the Kayunga District has earned the dubious reputation of being one of the most notorious killing places.

Kayunga District shares this reputation with the Kiira region (Wakisi District, Central Region). The most recent ritual murder case in this region is the one reported above but also in August 2022 a man and his wife in Jinja District were arrested for killing their child in a ritual practice. In May 2021 police in Kayunga District had to protect a man from a mob threatening to kill him after he had allegedly killed two of his children for rituals purposes.

In July 2022 a spike was reported in human sacrifices. I’m afraid that the child sacrifice and other ritual murder cases mentioned in this report (see my July 11 posting) and the above mentioned murders are just the tip of the iceberg. After all, it is only logical to assume that not all ritual killing cases are being discovered or reported. An unknown number of children or elderly people, victims of ritualistic practices, may have disappeared without leaving traces.

Since 2021 convicted ritual murderers in Uganda may face the death penalty. In May parliament enacted the Prevention and Prohibition of Human Sacrifice Bill, 2020, which includes the capital punishment or life imprisonment for any person found guilty of human sacrifice. The bill inspired me to some reflections – see my May 7 posting.

Since the enactment of the bill a number of convicted ritual murderers have been sentenced to heavy sentences and many years in prison, but the ugly phenomenon has not been eradicated. It’s a sad reality.

Uganda: Family piles pressure on police to recover head of suspected ritual victim

Another suspected ritual murder in Uganda. This time an eight-year old boy was killed apparently for ritual proposes. The boy, Yasin Sserunga, who was a pupil at Destiny Primary School, was found dead with head and toes missing.

A suspect was arrested but his arrest won’t bring back the boy to his parents who are unable to recover from their grief at their son’s death. They pay the price for someone’s belief in witchcraft and superstition.
(webmaster FVDK).

Family piles pressure on police to recover head of suspected ritual victim

Yasin Sserunga, a pupil at Destiny Primary School went missing from his parent’s home at Kisule Butanza village, Katikamu Sub County in Luwero district on January 7th.

Sylvia Namutebi aka Maama Fiina condoling with Nabatanzi the mother of slain Yasin Sserunga.

Published: March 3, 2023
By: Mazima – Uganda (thanks to URN)

A family in Luwero District has asked the Police to find the head of an eight-year-old boy who was killed in a suspected ritual murder.

Yasin Sserunga, a pupil at Destiny Primary School went missing from his parent’s home at Kisule Butanza village, Katikamu Sub County in Luwero district on January 7th.

Sserunga was found dead the next day with his head and toes missing. Sserunga’s torso was buried at Kasanga village in Nakasongola District but to date, the Police are yet to recover the head and other parts.

Yasin Sserunga, the father of the deceased says that two weeks ago, residents arrested a key suspect Robert Mawanda, a neighbor, and handed him to Police but investigations have dragged on.

Sserunga says the family is still in pain for burying their child without some body parts. He also fears that the police may release the key suspect because they have detained him for two weeks without appearing in court, which is contrary to the mandatory 48 hours.

Abubaker Sande Ssebwoya, the uncle to the deceased says that the suspect was linked to the murder after residents and relatives found him at the scene of the crime at around 2 am when they were searching for Sserunga.

Ssebwoya adds that the Police also obtained phone printouts that linked the suspect to the scene and other people have recorded statements on the matter.

The child’s family abandoned their home after the murder and are staying with relatives.

Patrick Lule, the Savannah Regional Police Spokesperson has asked the family to remain calm because the police are determined to ensure they get justice and recover the missing body parts.

Lule says that Police detained Mawanda but he has denied participation in the ritual murder and knowledge about the whereabouts of the missing body parts.

Lule, however, notes that the Police are pursuing scientific investigations to link him to the murder and his file has been sent to the State Attorney to sanction charges against him. 

According to the Police report, 58 people were murdered in 2022 in Luwero and the district ranked eighth in the country with the highest number of homicide cases. 

Source: Family piles pressure on police to recover head of suspected ritual victim

Uganda: Witchdoctor who admitted eating man’s liver remanded

Published: February 19, 2019

The Luweero Grade One Magistrate, Ms Maxensia Namagembe has remanded a witch doctor and his wife to Butuntumula Prison in Luweero District over alleged murder. 

Armstrong Nsubuga and his wife Rachael Talikuleka of Kyakatula-Butikwa village in Kikyusa Sub county were remanded on Monday.

The two were allegedly found in possession of a fresh human body.
According to the statement of offense, Nsubuga and Talikuleka and others still at large, killed an unidentified man and buried his remains in the backyard of their shrine on January 30, 2019.

Ms Namagembe didn’t allow the duo to plead to the charges since the matter is beyond the jurisdiction of the magistrate’s court.
She remanded them until March 2019 when they will return for the mention of their case. 

In a statement at Luweero Central Police Station, Nsubuga confessed that the unidentified man was brought to him by one of his clients for a ritual sacrifice to acquire wealth. 

He reportedly told police that they killed him, removed his liver, roasted it and ate it as part of the ritual. 

Nsubuga was arrested on February 2, after residents suspected him of killing a one Moses Busobozi in a ritual sacrifice. 

However, Mr Busobozi later showed up moments later. 

But this did not stop police from searching Nsubuga’s house where a fresh human body and the remains of other unidentified people were found in eight shallow graves. 

To date, police have not identified the man whose body was found at Nsubuga’s home. 

It is still lying at Mulago Hospital Mortuary.
The other human remains were taken to the Government Analytical Laboratory in Wandegeya in Kampala City for examination. 

Residents have since burnt down Nsubuga’s house and shrines to protest of his alleged ritual murders.

In August last year, Police arrested Owen Ssebuyungo, a witchdoctor based in Kisoga Village in Nazigo Sub-county in Kayunga District and recovered five bodies from his shrine. 

He confessed to murdering Mirembe Zuraika who had visited his shrine for exorcism against evil spirits.
Sebuyungo told detectives at Nagalama Police Station that he was advised by fellow witchdoctors to kill Mirembe to get more wealth.

Source: Witchdoctor who admitted eating man’s liver remanded

Location of the Luwero District in Uganda

Uganda: Another traditional healer held over ritual sacrifice

Published: Februay 7, 2019
By: Dan Wandera 

Some of the burnt shrines where human remains were exhumed by police in Butiikwa Village, Luweero District. PHOTO BY DAN WANDERA 

Luweero- Police in Luweero have arrested another traditional healer in connection with fresh human remains recovered at a shrine in the district last week.

The arrest of the suspect on Tuesday from his shrine in Nansana Municipal Council, Wakiso District, comes after another traditional healer based in Luweero allegedly claimed that together with suspects still at large took an adult male to his shrine for ritual sacrifice.

Last Friday, residents stormed the shrines belonging to a prominent traditional healer in Butiikwa Village, Kikyusa Sub- County in Luweero District and set nine shrines ablaze, accusing him of killing a resident in a suspected ritual murder.

When police confronted the traditional healer in a bid to search his shrines, he put up strong resistance but was overpowered. What they discovered in the shrines was shocking, according to police. There was a mutilated human body and hundreds of human bones from eight shallow graves. 

Some residents claim the human body parts, including the intestines and a leg, could be those of Moses Busobozi, 25, a resident in the village who disappeared on his way to a water dam on January 28. 

Police have since taken the mutilated body to Kampala City Mortuary for an autopsy.

According to Mr Paul Kangave, the Savannah Region police spokesperson, the owner of the shrines in Butiikwa Village, who is also in their custody, has since confessed that the human liver and private parts were removed from the mutilated body as part of the rituals conducted for one of his clients.

“The search for other suspects is ongoing, with the police yet to get the identity of the person killed at the shrine and buried in a shallow grave,” he said on Wednesday 
“We call upon the public to inform the police of any of their missing dear ones,” he added.

Mr David Ssendege, a resident of Butiikwa Village, claims Busobozi used to collect water for the traditional healer.

“We highly suspect that those traditional healers could have kidnapped the youth since they were very active on the night he disappeared. Vehicles were moving in and out of the shrines as the drumming and singing went on,” Mr Ssendege said.

Source: Another traditional healer held over ritual sacrifice