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Pastor pushing for an end to ritual murder of children despite threats

Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga (L) with child sacrifice survivor, George Mukisa. On 15 February 2009, George was playing football at his family home with his older brothers while his parents attended a funeral. Seeing his opportunity, their neighbour John Otebati—a witch doctor—lured the young star to a nearby banana plantation with the promise of sweets.

Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga and his wife Joeline are tireless advocates against ritual murder and have caught the attention of world media for their commitment to improve the standard of living for children and their families in Kyampisi, Mukono District, Uganda.

As well as pastoring a church, Peter also oversees Kyampisi Childcare Ministries – an organisation that captures and convicts child sacrifice offenders; lobbies for laws to declare the practice illegal; and rehabilitates children who have been mutilated.

According to Peter, many children who escape child sacrifice are maimed for life – their genitals have been removed, their skulls sliced, or their spines severed.

“Child sacrifice has risen because people have become lovers of money. They want to get richer,” the pastor recently told the BBC.

“They have a belief that when you sacrifice a child you get wealth, and there are people who are willing to buy these children for a price. So they have become a commodity of exchange, child sacrifice has become a commercial business.”

Pastor Sewakiryanga told the news outlet that he and his parishioners are lobbying the government to regulate witch doctors and improve police resources to investigate these crimes.

“I think hundreds of cases of missing children are not reported. I think that most of the missing children that are never found are victims of child sacrifice or trafficking,” Pastor Sewakiryanga says.

“Our research and the investigation by Chris Rogers and the BBC team in 2011 have shown that witch-doctors are still ready and willing to sacrifice children for the chance of wealth and good health.

“Most of them do the sacrifice secretly and there is little chance of being caught in the act,” he says.

“I have had numerous threats from people who benefit from this business of child sacrifice and I have been attacked many times, but it is worth the risk,” he says.

“I can’t sit back and watch when children are being slaughtered in cold blood like goats. I am ready to die for these innocent children.

“The first family I met had lost three children at once; their two girls and a boy were all under the age of 12 and their throats were slit, their bodies drained of blood and organs.

“It is very, very hard for the families. There are no words to describe the horror that haunts a mother who has lost her only child in such a barbaric and gruesome act.” he explains.

Aside ritual victims, the pastor has fostered the rehabilitation of children who have been mutilated under circumstances beyond human sacrifice too.

UG Christian News reported on March 2 about eight-year-old Benson Wasswa from Ntuusi, Ssembabule district who was forced to use a catheter and bag for more than two years after a local hospital medic accidentally amputated his genitals attempting to remove a blockage.

Efforts were made by Kyampisi Childcare Ministries (KCM) for the youngster to leave Uganda for Australia so as to have his life-changing surgery in Brisbane.

Pastor Sewakiryanga, who has fronted the fight for over 8 years now, says without the full force of the law, there is little that can be done to protect Uganda’s children from the belief in the power of human sacrifice.

“The children do not have voices, their voices have been silenced by the law and the police not acting, and the people who read the newspapers do nothing, so we have to make a stand and do whatever it takes to stamp out this evil, we can only pray that the government will listen.”

Despite ongoing attacks, Pastor Sewakiryanga told Blonde Ambition he remains hopeful that there will be an end to the unnecessary killings.

“I believe without a doubt that there will be an end to child sacrifice; I might die before I see that, I don’t know, but I have faith that this practice will become history,” he said.

“If I didn’t believe so, then I wouldn’t put my life at risk to fight against it.

“We need a lot of prayers, encouragement and support in terms of funding and anyone that can help is much welcome so we can bring a lasting change.”

According to Sylvia Namutebi, the head of traditional healers in Uganda, commonly known as maama Fiina, about 90% of traditional healers are fake and only 10% of are genuine.

She told a state linked news daily that fake healers always manipulate people by demanding for human blood or organs such as heads, tongues to use for their ritual sacrifices.

In 2009, government imposed the death penalty for anyone who removed a child’s body part for human sacrifice or other witchcraft, or trafficked children for that purpose.

Moses Binoga, a police commissioner who coordinates the fight against child trafficking and sacrifice, however told media “the death penalty is rarely imposed on those convicted.”

By Staff Writer.

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