At least six cases of mutilation and murder of children were reported during the recent Uganda elections. It is believed that the children were used as "good luck" sacrifices between the months of October 2015 to February 2016.
The cases are being monitored by Kyampisi Childcare Ministries, a children's charity that cares for survivors of attempted child sacrifice. The charity confirmed that while the suspects had been apprehended, the cases are yet to go to court.
Shelin Kasozi of Kyampisi Childcare Ministries (KCM) told Reuters: "Child sacrifices are common during election time as people believe blood sacrifices will bring wealth and power."
Moses Binoga, coordinator of the anti-trafficking task force at Uganda's interior ministry, confirmed that children had been reported missing during the election period. He was unable to confirm KCM's reports of child sacrifices and confirmed that investigations were ongoing into the alleged incidents.
However, Binoga noted that there had been seven child sacrifices and six adult sacrifices reported in Uganda in 2015. This number appears to be remaining stagnant, with nine child sacrifices and four adult sacrifices reported the year before. Binoga said that in some cases the mutilated bodies of children and adults had been found with their hearts or livers ripped out. In two cases, the victims' heads were missing.
A United Nations report published in 2013 stated: "The few human rights defenders who have spoken out against the practices of human sacrifice often put themselves at risk from community members and those who are profiting from such practices."
It also stated that those who are profiting are "often powerful religious or political leaders". Meanwhile, research conducted by KidsRight noted that child sacrifice is often performed "in order to reconcile with the gods" and noted that "the purer the offering, the better; making children more vulnerable to sacrifice than adults".
Uganda's recent election saw President Yoweri Museveni extend his 30 year-long rule by securing another term. The election result has been widely criticised by the opposition, as well as the international community.