Six cases of the mutilation and murder of children as good luck sacrifices were reported during the recent Ugandan elections, a children’s charity organisation said on Monday.

“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.

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She said that the cases were reported from October to February in Sembabule, 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 criticised by the U.S. and European Union.

Ugandans also voted in municipal and parliamentary elections.

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Moses Binoga, coordinator of the anti-trafficking task force at the interior ministry, said children had been reported missing in the election period.
He said that he could not confirm KCM’s reports, adding that investigations were ongoing.

He said seven children and six adult sacrifice cases were reported in the country in 2015, compared to nine children 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.

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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.