THE Police and health authorities have rescued two children who were starved by their parents in two separate incidences in Mityana and Rakai districts.
One of the children, a 15-year-old boy, was found dumped in a chicken room in Miralambo village in Rakai, where he had stayed for five years.
The Kyotera county health inspector, Yasin Kitayimbwa, said the parents had abandoned the child in the room believing he was bewitched.
The inspection team found the boy by chance when they went to inspect the compound and insisted on entering the house to see what it looked like.
â€œWhen I entered, I realised that one of the bedrooms adjacent to the living room was stinking and there was no light. I wanted to know what was there only to find it was meant for chicken,â€ Kitayimbwa told The New Vision.
As he was about to get out of the room, he saw something wrapped in a piece of cloth shaking in a wooden bed, he said.
â€œI called one of the people who were outside to come and unwrap it. I was shocked to find a starved boy who could neither talk nor walk and had been infested by jiggers all over his body.â€ The mother, Josephine Nalukwata, a traditional herbalist, was hiding in a shrine next to the house while the father, Joseph Kabiito, had gone to his farm.
Nalukwata told the inspection team that the boy got bewitched at the age of 10. She claimed that she tried to save her son by taking him to a traditional doctor but that her husband refused to fulfill some of the conditions.
But Kabiito, upon return from the farm, blamed his wife whom he accused of refusing to feed the boy.
A health worker at Kalisizo Hospital, where the boy was admitted, dismissed the claim of witchcraft but said his condition was a result of neglect and starvation.
â€œIf the boy had received enough care and food, he would not have been in that situation,â€ said Margaret Gera.
By press time, the parents had not yet been arrested.
In a similar case, in Kiryankoko village in Mityana, a 14-year-old boy was found abandoned and starving in a house for over two years.
The Police, acting on a tip-off from concerned residents, rescued the boy, who was staying in the house with only a deaf cousin, and took him to Mityana Hospital.
â€œWe found the boy almost dying. He was very thin, malnourished and looked like a five-year-old,â€ said January Kusiimwa, the officer in charge of the family and child protection unit at Mityana Police Station.
The whereabouts of the mother are unknown while the father is said to be either in Kampala or Juba, Sudan, he noted.
The boy had been left with the grandfather, Joshua Ssendegeya, who died last year.
A total of 8,286 cases of child abuse were reported to the Police countrywide between January and April this year, according to a report by the African Network for Prevention against Child Abuse and Neglect, released in September.
Child abuse also tops the list of complaints at the Ugandan Human Rights Commission, accounting for almost a quarter of all cases reported.
Child left to starve in chicken house