“Women in this market leave their children to play unattended to. They are so relaxed with their children’s security,” said Fred Sewamala, a potato seller.
TRAGEDY | MURDER
WAKISO - The Police have started investigating circumstances under which two children of the same neighbourhood were murdered by cutting their throats before their bodies were dumped.
Margaret Gift Akech, 3, who went missing on Friday last week, was murdered and her body dumped in a trench in Kasokoso-Kiganda, while the body of Johnson Ssempereza, 6, who disappeared on Sunday evening, was found inside a tomato box in a Kireka market.
Being the first-born in the family, Margaret Gift Akech was the source of happiness and hope to her parents Aminah Yabbe and Centuri Odongo, who reside in Kasokoso-Kiganda, in Kira municipality, Wakiso district. However, on Friday, the couple was gripped by panic and shock when Akech went missing and for three consecutive days, she could not be traced inspite of a hunt involving the Police and local authorities.
On Monday morning at around 8:00am, residents stumbled on Akech's decomposing body, that was found lying in a trench, wrapped in a white polythene bag, about 400 metres from her parent's home. Akech had two ear-pins, purple shoes but no clothes. She had a deep cut on her throat, but other body parts were intact.
"Oh God... this is too much for me. I am a poor man, who has no grudge with anyone, how I wish the person who did this at least told me to pay him anything other than punishing my innocent angel for no reason," wailed Odongo.
It is suspected that the child was a victim of a ritual murder. "Imagine they cut her throat and drained blood out of her." lamented Eruphas Omala, Akech's uncle. Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said they are investigating the matter alongside the murder of Johnson Ssempereza.
Johnson Ssempereza's headless body was discovered at Farmers' Market in Kireka, Railway zone on the Kampala-Jinja highway. The body was discovered hidden inside a box placed between a wooden stand and food stalls, by traders who were arranging produce for sale in the wee hours of Monday morning. Ssempereza had been a pupil at Good Choice Primary School in Kireka and the son of Esther Nambafu, a tea vendor in the market.
According to her statement to the Police, the mother said on Sunday, at around 8:00pm, she sent her two sons, Godrick, 8, and Ssempereza to fetch water. However, Godrick returned alone and told her that a stranger had sent Ssempereza to a shop to buy Pepsi (a fizzy drink) for him.
Nambafu searched for her son to no avail. She remained hopeful that the boy would show up, but he did not. In the morning, she was informed about a decapitated body of a child that had been found in the market. She confirmed that indeed it was the body of her son.
According to the Kireka market traders, the body was discovered at around 3:00am by one of their colleagues who had gone to ease himself behind the stalls.
"He came back screaming, awaking us up to go and see the headless body. We rushed to the scene and saw the body. It was so scary," said Patrick Mugweri, one of the traders.
Abdallah Magada, a tax collector in the market, said when the body was discovered, he rushed to Police and reported the matter. Police officers, accompanied by the Police canines were deployed at the scene. He said the canines swiftly sniffed the area and their trail led to a traditional healer's shrine in Banda, one of the suburbs located on the boundary of Kampala city and Wakiso district, but no arrests were made.
"I think after the boy setting off to the shop, the killer trailed him, dazed him with chloroform and kidnapped him without being noticed," the tax collector said.
He said when the mother first reported the disappearance of the boy to Police, she was told it was too premature for the Police to mount a search. She was advised to instead wait until the following morning to report the matter in case her son did not show up.
Magada said from their observation, the boy was decapitated from somewhere else and the body dumped near his mother's workstation for easy recovery.
Nambafu is also a resident of the area, but appears to have separated with the father of her children.
"This is the first time such a gruesome murder is taking place at this market," he said. However, the traders said security at the market is lacking yet parents often leave their children to play around the market.
"Women in this market leave their children to play unattended to. They are so relaxed with their children's security," said Fred Sewamala, a potato seller.