Child sacrifice: Court summons investigator

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KAMPALA.

Court has summoned the police investigating officer to testify against a Rakai witchdoctor who is accused of allegedly kidnapping and subjecting a one-year-old toddler to body mutilation in 2008.

Stephen Wasswa, 61, is on remand over charges of alleged kidnap with intent to murder, an offence that attracts maximum sentence of death upon conviction.

The High Court in Masaka before Justice John Keitirima summoned the police officer who investigated the case to appear on January 31 and testify. The police officer is the fifth prosecution witness in a case that has lasted eight years now.

Other witnesses, include Regina Nakato the mother, Stephen Semabtya [father], Stephen Kiweesi and Anges Nankya who rescued the girl, Resty Nakirijja from a bush while in a sack.

Witnesses told court that at the age of one and half years, Nakirijja [now 10 years] was kidnapped and confined in a shrine where her body parts were mutilated.

Ms Nankya testified that she found the girl tied in the sack with body parts mutilated, including part of her tongue, teeth and the private parts.

“I was frightened and made an alarm that attracted people. Then we mobilised and took the child to Dr Lwanga’s Clinic in Kinoni who upon check-up referred us to Masaka hospital but we did not have money,” she testified.

Mr Sembatya said the disappearance of his daughter followed a dispute with Wasswa and his deceased twin brother Kato. Court heard that Kato was killed by a mob in Masaka in 2008 after recovery of the girl from the road side.

The State contends that on July 19, 2008 at Namiyaga village in Rakai District by force, Wasswa kidnapped the girl child with intent to murder or to dispose of the said child as to put her in danger of being murdered.

Wasswa was re-arrested in January 2016 from Mukono in a joint operation of the police in partnership with local child rights organisation, Kyampisi Childcare Ministries and two United States-based organisations; Engage Now Africa End Modern Slavery and Freedom Now International.

He was in hiding after jumping court bail pending trial in 2010.

The law

According to Section 243 of the Penal Code Act, any person who by force or fraud kidnaps, abducts, takes away or detains any person against his will where a person so kidnapped or detained is there after not seen or heard of within a period of six months or more, the accused person shall be presumed to have had the intention and knowledge of murder and is liable to suffer death upon conviction.

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