Uganda: Two Toddlers Decapitated in Witchcraft Sacrifice

What You Need to Know: 

Ugandan police arrested traditional doctor Sulaiman Sentongo, his wife, and his associate Maureen Namuleme on Saturday following the grisly discovery of two decapitated children in Kirinda village, Kiboga district on Wednesday. 

The bodies of two year-old Sylvia Nantango and five year-old Easter Nakasumba were found by police sniffer dogs after their parents, who had sent them home from the family farm for lunch, reported them missing. 

The dogs led police to the home of the village’s traditional doctor, Sulaiman Sentongo, who had fled Kiboga to the southeastern district of Kampala through the aid of his associate Maureen Namuleme. 

“Next to her [Nakasumba’s] decapitated body, there was a paper note directing detectives where the two heads of the victims had been dumped. Using our sniffer dog, we landed on the heads in a brick furnace near Kasinina Elimu Church. The dog later led detectives to a house which was also used as a shrine.” 

According to police Spokesperson for Wamala region, Racheal Kawala “preliminary findings suggest that on April 3rd 2024 at 10pm, two children, Nantango and Nakasumba were reported missing. Unfortunately, their torsos were discovered on April 4th 2023 in Kirinda Village, Kasega parish, Kapeke sub-county, leading investigators to the home of the witch doctor, Sulaiman Sentongo, who is currently in custody.” 

The Details: 

As a result, a head count and identification program to register all traditional healers in the district is to be conducted, said Kiboga Resident District Commissioner Mariam Nalubega Sseguya. 

The program intends to “weed out the ‘quacks’ from the genuine healers”, the Commissioner said. 

“Many wrong elements are masquerading as traditional healers to achieve their ill intentions which has tarnished the name of herbalists in the country. We are going to have this census to weed out all fake traditional healers who are engaging in criminal activities.” 

According to the Ugandan Monitor, a 2013 Child Sacrifice and Mutilations Report claimed that one child sacrifice occurs every week. 

In 2020, the Ugandan Parliament passed the Prevention and Prohibition of Human Sacrifice Bill with the objective of ‘providing for the crime of human sacrifice; to provide for fines and penalties for the offense of human sacrifice and related matters.’

Before the Bill was brought into effect, cases of human sacrifice would be tried under the Penal Code Act, meaning a person charged with human sacrifice could be charged with murder or manslaughter. 

The 2020 Bill thus ‘provides for the offense of human sacrifice with specific ingredients as distinct from murder and related offenses’ with the knowledge that ‘the reported cases indicate that whereas the perpetrators of human sacrifice are mostly witch doctors and traditional healers, the financiers of the practice are often wealthy individuals who are never prosecuted.’ 

As previously reported, witchcraft is heavily prevalent in Africa, particularly among those who live in rural communities. The use of animals or body parts, especially that of children, albinos, or strong young men are used in rituals to gain power, success, health or to shield the ritual’s recipient from harm. 

 

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger is a Political Science Graduate from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Currently working as an Editor for The ModernInsurgent and writing for Atlas News, her interests include conflict politics, history, yoga and meditation.

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