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Uganda’s growing market in child sacrifice

Abductions of children in Uganda for use by witch doctors in rituals have surged over the past three years.

The spate of horrific practices coincides with the boom in the east African country’s economy, with many blaming a small fraction of the very rich.

As people closely watch their children to and from school and posters warning about abductions line the roadsides, it is widely suspected that members of the Ugandan upper-class are paying witch doctors to perform the act, hoping it will bring them even more wealth and good health.

In footage shown on last night’s Ten O’clock news, BBC reporter Chris Rogers posed as a businessman trying to fix a meeting with a witch doctor to help bring success to his construction project.

"There are two ways of doing this. We can bury the child alive at your construction site or we can cut the child and put their blood in bottle of spiritual medicine," the witch doctor, identified as Awali, said.

"If it's a male the whole head is cut off . . . and his genitals. We will dig a hole at your construction site and bury the feet and the hands."

In 2006, there was one case of child sacrifice in the country, according to official police records; and in 2008 police say they investigated 25 alleged ritual murders, and in 2009, another 29. And the Anti-Human Sacrifice Police Task Force, launched in response to the growing numbers, says the ritual murder rate has slowed, citing a figure of 38 cases since 2006.

Pastor Pastor Sewakiryanga from the UK-based charity, The Jubilee Campaign disputes these figures, and says there are more victims from his parish than official statistics for the entire country.

The charity says in a report that the true number of cases is in the hundreds, and claims more than 900 cases have yet to be investigated by the police because of corruption and a lack of resources.

Last night’s report told the story of nine-year-old Allan who was left for dead after a vicious attack.  X-rays of his injuries reveal missing bone from his skull and damage to a part of his brain after a machete sliced through the child’s head and neck in an attempt to behead him. He was also castrated then dumped near his village home.  It was a month before he woke from a coma. Allan can identify his attackers but the police say that his evidence is unreliable.

Hayley attribution