By Yasin Kakande
KAMPALA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Six cases of the mutilation and murder of children as "good luck" sacrifices were reported during the recent Ugandan elections, a children's charity said.
"Child sacrifice cases are common during election time as some people believe blood sacrifices will bring wealth and power," said Shelin Kasozi of Kyampisi Childcare Ministries (KCM), a charity that cares for survivors of attempted child sacrifice.
She said the cases were reported from October to February in Ssembabule, Mukono, Buikwe and Mubende districts in central Uganda. Suspects had been apprehended, but the cases had yet to go to court, she said.
President Yoweri Museveni won a Feb. 18 election, extending his 30-year rule in a vote criticized by the United States and European Union. Ugandans also voted in municipal and parliamentary elections.
Moses Binoga, coordinator of the anti-trafficking task force at the interior ministry, said children had been reported missing in the election period. But he could not confirm KCM's reports and said investigations were ongoing.
He said seven child and six adult sacrifice cases were reported in the country in 2015, compared to nine child and four adult sacrifice cases reported in 2014.
Binoga said the mutilated bodies of children and adults had been found, some with hearts or livers ripped out. In two cases reported last year the victims' heads were missing, he said.
In a 2012 case, 82-year-old Hanifa Namuyanja was sentenced to 15 years in jail for taking part in the sacrifice of her granddaughter Shamim Nalwoga.
Police found the girl's body with her tongue and eyes cut out and genitals mutilated, the court heard.
The United Nations said last year that attacks on albino people in Africa were on the rise, linked to a growing demand from political hopefuls for body parts prized in black magic in the run up to elections in several African countries.
(Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org to see more stories)