It’s true Witchcraft has a dark side in Uganda, and children are falling victim

Steve Oke Chapchap MarketJuly 4, 2019No Comments

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Witchcraft has a dark side in Uganda, and children are falling victim

COURTESY By Fiona Pepper and Susan Clark forCounterpointPosted2 days ago, updated2 days ago

Ugandan children carrying a placard that says 'protect us from these witch doctors'.
IMAGEWitchcraft often involves the sacrificing of animals, but children are now being targeted.(Supplied: KCM)

“Child sacrifice is real — it’s not a myth. It’s a reality and it’s happening on a huge scale in Uganda.”

Fifteen years ago, young Ugandan pastor Peter Sewakiryanga travelled to Kyampisi, a village he describes as the country’s “epicentre of witchcraft”.

“I saw, with my own eyes, three children who had been sacrificed from the same family,” he tells RN’s Counterpoint.

“It broke my heart, I saw the pain of the mother who lost three children.

“It was real and right in front of me.”

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Warning: This story contains details that some people may find distressing.

Witchcraft has long been practiced throughout Uganda, and traditionally involves the sacrificing of animals like goats or chickens.

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But witch doctors, he says, now claim their work is “more powerful when you sacrifice the blood of a child”.

“The witch doctors believe that when you sacrifice a child, you get wealth, you get protection, you get some sort of blessing,” he says.

“It’s a form of desperation that people have because of poverty and disease.”

Three men stand side by side embracing all wearing bright t-shirts.
IMAGEPeter Sewakiryanga (far right) with child sacrifice survivor Allan (left) and Allan’s father (centre).(Supplied: KCM)

He describes child sacrifice as the “ritual mutilation of children”. Unbeknown to their parents, children are often kidnapped for these sacrificial practices.

“Children are kidnapped by so-called witch doctors or people that practice witchcraft,” Mr Sewakiryanga says.

“They cut their body parts and most often facial features — it could be ears, it could be eyes poked out, nose, tongues and more often genitals are cut off for ritual practices.”AUDIOHear more from pastor Peter Sewakiryanga

The children are then left for dead. Few survive, and those who do are left with horrific injuries.

Mr Sewakiryanga says the practice bears no genuine relationship to the local culture.

“There’s freedom of worship and there are people that believe in worshipping ancestral spirits and witchcraft practices,” he says.

“But when it comes to demeaning the life of a child, it becomes a human rights issue and that needs to be responded to.”

Supporting victims and prosecuting the perpetrators

This is what drove Mr Sewakiryanga to establish Kyampisi Childcare Ministries(KCM), a charity that aims to end child sacrifice, support victims of the brutal practice and prosecute the perpetrators.

The back of a group of eight school children walking together while embracing.
IMAGEPeter Sewakiryanga established Kyampisi Childcare Ministries in an effort to end child sacrifice.(Supplied: KCM)

The charity is based in Kyampisi, the small village where Mr Sewakiryanga first witnessed child sacrifice.

“The work we mainly do is rescue the kids that are almost in the hands of those that will probably hurt them,” he says.

“For those that have been killed, we will work with the police to find the witch doctors and make sure that they are taken to court for justice.”

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Mr Sewakiryanga says his organisation deals with between 20 and 30 confirmed cases of child sacrifice each year, on average.

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