Two sentenced to 40 years in jail over child sacrifice

The two; Kivumbi Awali and Ngaswireki Paul were on Monday convicted by Chief Magistrate Sarah Tusiime after evidence collected linked them to the attempted murder of the victim for ritual practices in 2009

KAYUNGA, UGANDA: The Chief Magistrates Court in Kayunga has convicted and sentenced two men to 40 years in prison each after they were found guilty of attempting to behead a six-year-old boy for ritual sacrifice.

The duo Kivumbi Awali and Ngaswireki Paul on Monday (September 19) appeared before Chief Magistrate Sarah Tusiime and were convicted to serve each 40 years in jail after evidence collected linked them to the attempted murder of Allan Ssembatya in 2009, thirteen years ago.

The victim and his grandparents were living in Busolo Village, Busaale parish, in Kayunga District and one of the culprits, Ngaswireki, a friend of Kivumbi, was their neighbour.

State prosecution led by Mr Edward Muhumuza stated that the offence was committed in 2009 in Busolo Village, and at that time, Ssembatya who is now 19 years was aged 6 years old and in Primary Two at Busaale Church of Uganda Primary School, Kayunga.

In her ruling, the magistrate held that the conduct of the two convicts before, during and after the commission of the act was wanting.

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“In light of the above evidence, submissions and the law, the prosecution has provided its case beyond a reasonable doubt that A1 and A2 are guilty of the offense of attempted murder of Ssembatya Allan contrary to Section 204 of the Penal Code Act,” held magistrate Tusiime.

The magistrates explained that Kivumbi had been a good neighbour and even visited Ssembatya’s family quite often in the hospital.

“It makes one believe that the frequent visits by A2 (Kivumbi) were to monitor the health of the victim or to conceal their participation. Such conduct is enough to prove that indeed there was malice aforethought,” Ms Tusiime held in court on Monday.

The magistrate also observed that the body parts damaged were the neck, head, skull, shoulder and testis.

The duo were in their first trial acquitted for lack of evidence but were later committed for retrial following the intervention of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) leading to yesterday’s verdict.

The Office of the DPP relied on both direct and circumstantial evidence to prove the case against the accused including evidence from the victim and the medical reports of the victim. Accordingly, the court found the two accused persons guilty and convicted them.

Present at court were the father of the victim and a number of anti-child sacrifice activists from Kyampisi Childcare Ministries, a non-governmental organisation.

The magistrate branded the case as purely one for “child sacrifice”, although both convicts asked for lighter sentences.

“I have 12 children and two wives and I was their breadwinner. I now don’t know what my family is up to,” Kivumbi said.

Mr Peter Sewakiryanga, the executive director of Kyampisi Childcare Ministries, said he had relocated Ssembatya’s family for their safety.

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“My belief is that now we have a precedence that, however long it takes to get justice when there is will by the community, justice can be delivered,” Mr Sewakiryanga said.

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