Uganda has a number of rich elite who are highly superstitious and believe in the power of witchcraft. They believe that certain rituals can help boost their fertility or cure impotence. A tragic fallout of this belief system is that it preys upon vulnerable children, who are often snatched on their way to or from school.
Wealthy businessmen pay traditional ‘healers’ thousands of pounds to hunt children and ‘harvest’ their body parts.
These children and their body parts aren’t always used to make ‘potions’, instead they are offered to the spirits that required these brutal sacrifices. In February this year, the Ugandan government created a National Action Plan to regulate these healers – some of whom practice as real doctors. Still, with the 2016 elections fast approaching, these gruesome acts are predicted to rise higher in number.
One reason why this practice still continues is that even if caught, witch doctors do not name their clients, who are then not prosecuted for the crime.
Little boys are often castrated in cruel ways, leaving them with after-effects like blood clots, dangerous decrease of bone density and spinal fractures. “It is a gruesome crime against children driven by superstition, religious beliefs, witch craft and extreme poverty,” according to Jubilee Campaign, which has documented these crimes.
Witch doctors do very well because they convince clients that they have to go through different levels of spells – and the most powerful one is the blood of a human child.
dailymail Steven’s grandmother stands where his body was found
In 2009, 6-year-old Steven was abducted from his home when his grandmother went to buy soap. They found his decapitated body the next morning in corn fields behind his own house. The witch doctor was caught but the police tried to bribe Steven’s grandmother with £110. She refused and took the criminal to court but has seen no developments in the case.
Allan Ssembatya, a 7-year-old boy, was castrated and cut on the neck, shoulder and head. He was left to bleed to death in a bush but was found and saved. He still suffers the emotional aftermath of the incident.