Missing 18-month-old toddler found murdered in Busia

Sunday January 24 2021
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Residents gather at a waste skimp as the police takes away the body of the 18-month-old toddler killed in suspected ritual sacrifice. Photo/ David Awori

By David Awori

Police in Busia District in eastern Uganda are investigating the gruesome murder of an 18-month-old girl, whose body was discovered a day after she went missing.

Patience Auma's body was on Sunday morning found dumped in a waste skip in Mugungu B Village, Busia Town Council, with some of her body parts missing.

Salim Abdallah Tiff, who was picking polythene from the skip, before he stumbled on the mutilated body, said: "I was picking waste when I saw a suspicious sack in the skip; and upon opening it, I found a baby's body with some of her body parts mutilated."

Preliminary reports suggest the victim could have been killed, her body parts removed, put into a sack and carried to the waste skip with an aim of covering up the crime.

The victim's mother, Mary Logeri, a resident of Maranchi C Village in Eastern division, said on Friday, she left the Auma at home alone to buy her a syrup from a nearby drug shop, only to return and find her missing.

The single mother added that she had filed a missing person report at police and a frantic search for her daughter was underway throughout the village, but efforts to find her were futile.


"Some residents told me they had seen some woman take her away but they did not pay much attention to establish who she was and it's unfortunate she has been murdered," Ms Logeri explained.

The police homicide department attached to Busia Central Police Station visited the scene and took the body for a postmortem as detectives try to make sense of the horrific crime.

Saidi Muwara, a Local Council official in the area, said, "The murder was the most cruel act to have been committed on a minor and whereas the motive is not yet established, all evidence points to ritual sacrifice."

Mr Moses Kakiryo, the Busia District Police Commander, said he is awaiting the autopsy and more information from the investigators before making a conclusive report.

Acts of child sacrifice in Busia District, like other parts of the country, have partly been attributed to the belief in witchcraft.

Recent related crime in Busia

On January 2, 2014, a couple in Mawero B village in the district was arrested after it allegedly murdered its two-year-old son.

On March 8, 2016, Hassan Wesamba, a 12-year-old pupil of Madibira Primary School in Busia Town, was found sacrificed nearly a week after he was kidnapped.

Then, on June 15, 2016, Herbert Were, a resident of Lumino in Busia was arrested after he reportedly beheaded his eight-year-old only brother, Joel Ogema, in a suspected act of child sacrifice. 

Mr Were, who was arrested in Kajjansi while in possession of a human head, would later tell Police that he was duped into beheading his brother to become rich.

In July 2020, 16-year-old Mercy Bridget was found murdered and her body dumped in a maize garden in Ma