Buvuma – Mystery continues to surround the death of a 7–year old boy whose body was found floating on the shores of Lake Victoria, a few meters away from the NRM Woman MP Aspirant Hon. Judith Nagguja’s home in Walwanda, Buvuma Islands county.
The deceased, John Ediruma, aged 7, was staying with his mother Kafuko Safiyati, 38, a resident of Buliba Village in Buvuma Town Council after the latter separated with his father Abuzari Kabugo who is currently married in Mayuge district to another wife.
Ediruma went missing on Sunday, September 27, and the whole night, his whereabouts were unknown despite several announcements of disappearance of a person on the village megaphones but all that changed on Monday morning 28th (the following day) when his body was found floating at the lake shores.
While the postmortem reports have suggested that the victim had drowned to death, the police are still clueless about how the body of Ediruma was found dead floating on the lake shores after his disappearance the previous day.
Buvuma District CIID Officer Alfred Twebaze declined to comment on the matter but the Ssezibwa Regional Police Spokesperson, Ms Hellen Butoto, said police responded in September. 28th to reports of a body found at the lake shores.
Buvuma Police retrieved Ediruma’s body and took it for postmortem before handing it to the family for burial arrangements, amidst claims from the community that the boy was killed in a ritual murder.
‘’We do not want to interfere with the investigation process. We shall inform you after a full police investigation into the death of the boy but preliminary findings indicate that he died after drowning’’, said Butoto.
As investigations into the matter continue vide CRB:310/2020, however, some residents have refuted police claim that the boy could have drowned, arguing that possibilities of human sacrifice and witchcraft cannot be ruled out especially this time where people are fighting for political offices.
Residents argue that there is mystery over the deceased’s disappearance and the cause of his death given the experience they have on drowned bodies and the time they re-emerge. They believe the deceased was killed elsewhere and the body later dumped.
‘’We want Police to investigate suspicions of kidnap and ritual murder. When you connect dots, something is missing but as residents we need justice in the boy’s death’’, said Idi Maganda, an experienced fisherman at Walwanda.
Recounting the deceased’s last moments, Safiyati, the mother, said his son left home to go and play with his friends and was in a jovial mood.
“I prepared lunch and we had meals, did his domestic work before going to play around. He, however, failed to return home that evening prompting me to make announcements but in vain,”heartbroken Safiyati said.
Unconfirmed reports indicate on the fateful day, Ediruma was seen seated on a culvert near Hon. Nagujja’s home but it is still puzzling how he ended up in the lake.
Residents, who spoke to Red Pepper in separate interviews but preferred anonymity for their personal safety, claim that the boy’s life was cut short by devious persons whose horrifying actions can never be forgiven.
‘’We thank the Police but they should probe the case from all angles and should not rule out the possibility of ritual murder. As we wait for the investigations, we believe the boy’s death could have been ended in ritual murders and the culprits should be apprehended .This is not the first time such an incident has happened, there is a male adult who disappeared from this village and up to now his whereabouts are still unknown,’’ claimed Lewentina Nakanaabi the LCI Walwanda Cell in Buvuma Town Council.
The deceased’s body had injuries which locals claim is an indication that he might have been ritualistically tortured before he was killed by ungodly people. The circumstances under which this could have happened are still puzzling.
The deceased’s body was found naked at around 8am oscillating at the water log despite the typical night winding waves at Walwanda.
Maganda told Red Pepper that it’s impractical that the boy could have gone swimming alone because he couldn’t leave his proud cronies behind at that time. Furthermore, he was amazed that his body after resurfacing, couldn’t be swept away by the winding waves.
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Buvuma Police station got information from the area LCI Ms Nakanaabi that a body of the unidentified child was found at the shores of Lake Victoria in Walwanda.
A source told Red pepper that later, when the mother of the deceased was informed of a floating body found on the shores of the Lake in Walwanda near Nagguja’s home, she nearly collapsed on reaching the scene after realizing that the body was of her son.
Although Police are still trying to figure out the mystery, a section of residents in Buvuma have pinned and linked the killings to ritual murders by a female politician vying for the Woman Member of parliament seat in the island, an allegation we could not independently verify.
Ongoing police survey reveals that the deceased disappeared the evening of 29th September on Sunday. The family was informed about Ediruma’s death by residents however, Safiyati, mother to the deceased, says her son knew how to swim and couldn’t not risk going to the lake at that time and that it was baffling that he could have drowned.
Another local said: “This horrific incident has justifiably caused enormous shock and concern among local residents and across the island. This should be a ritual murder investigation and security team should work diligently to establish the sequence of events that led to the deceased’s alleged drowning and death’’.
When reached for comment about the incident and the allegations around the Island that she could be knowing anything related to the Ediruma’s death, Hon.Judith Nagujja, the NRM Flag Bearer for Buvuma Islands in the forthcoming 2021 polls denied any knowledge of what had happened to the boy and claimed the incident happened when she was away in Kampala to handle the NRM tribunal petition filed by her opponent about the recent party primaries.
‘’I have been up and down in Kampala handling the NRM petition filed by my political rival. Haven’t even gone there to console the family, actually am hearing it from you. Some people have been making allegations to tarnish my name but I know nothing about the incident’’, Nagujja told reporters at her home in Buvuma on October 9th 2020.
Although the body of the deceased was found a few meters away from her home, self-possessed Nagujja claimed the allegations were political malice and later revealed she would visit the family of the deceased.
The family that have since threatened to petition the office of Inspector General of Police–IGP and the State House’s Anti-Corruption Unit, Lt Col Edith Nakalema in alleged fight for justice, challenge the official post mortem report that indicated that Ediruma’s body had an injuries as a result of continual swaying by waves at the water log.
‘’There are still many specific facts we do not know about how that boy entered the lake, including what happened to the body. Another line of investigation we want pursued is how authorities hurriedly delivered the deceased’s remains to Mayuge for burial before exhaustively handling investigations on such perceptive incident’’, revealed a family member.
Although the Police in Mayuge detained the deceased’s mother Safiyati and two others during the burial, the officer in charge of criminal investigations at Mbale Police Post in Imanilo sub-county, Mayuge District described the situation as a “preventive arrest” after the relatives of the husband wanted to lynch the former.
By press time, no arrest had been made in connection to Ediruma’s mystery death.
“When someone drowns in water, it takes about three days for the body to resurface probably at the same time they drowned but in this incident the body was seen the following day morning. Further than this, Deceased’s clothes were found at a different scene. There are no possibilities that he could have gone to swim”, said a fisherman.
According to some rescue divers, when a person drowns, water takes the place of air in lungs. This makes the body heavier and it sinks. It stays there until enough gas builds up inside the body from bacterial decomposition about three days to make it buoyant and free it from the suction that slit and mud creates on the water body bed, and then it surfaces to float.
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‘’Bodies usually stay underwater for even weeks, although this varies widely and some bodies never come up at all. One of the factors which affect this is the temperature of the water’’, revealed a rescue diver on condition of anonymity who also doubts the resurfacing of the afterhours of drowning.
Child sacrifice is a troubling and widespread occurrence in Uganda which some believe brings wealth and power. Now we are going into elections where there are so many Ugandans, even high profile people, going to witch doctors’ shrines, the vice is feared to rise.