Charles Katende, 53, a resident of Naluvule, Kisenyi zone, Wakiso district, highly suspects that his stepson kidnapped his two children and killed them last month.
Taibu Semakula alias Shafik, 17, is believed to have ended the lives of Israel Namaleego, 4, a pupil of Windsor School in Naluvule and Dokas Nakiwunga, 2. Katende, a businessman, said on May 18 at 6pm, he received the chilling news of his children’s disappearance while on his way from the burial of friend in Masaka.
When Katende reached home, he found many people searching for the children. He was told they could have been kidnapped by a person close to him. The children were snatched at a neighbour’s party.
Before they went to the party, their mother had instructed their elder brother, Magara, to give them supper while she prepared to go for night prayers.
“When Magara entered the kitchen to prepare food for his siblings, he never found them at the gate where he had left them. They started looking for them at the party, and in all corners in vain. This is when they realised the children were kidnapped,” he said.
The Naluvule police recorded the case and the family was told to return the following day at 11am because it was too early to start investigations.
“We reported back to police the following day, recorded statements but they didn’t do any investigation. We made announcements on the community radio and people teamed up in groups to search for the children…,” Katende said.
After two days, the family started losing hope of finding them alive.
“On Sunday, I went to one of the famous pastors in Mukono and we prayed almost for the whole day but nothing was achieved. The pastor assured me that I would get my children alive…” he said.
On Monday morning, one of Katende’s sisters advised him to try a witchdoctor, an alleged specialist in recovering kidnapped children dead or alive for a fee of Shs 300,000.
“…the witchdoctor told us that he can begin the work if we deposited Shs 100,000 and pay the balance later. He told us the more we delay, the more the kidnappers will hide my children…,” Katende said.
His relatives, he said, collected Shs 100,000 and the witchdoctor promised that his magic would compel the kidnappers to release the children.
“The witchdoctor asked for the children’s clothes, banana leaves, a stone and stool. He folded all those items, put them on the stool and asked my wife to sit on them while repeatedly saying that she is heavy like a stone and kids are also heavy. The kidnappers should drop them since they are heavy and they return home dead or alive,” Katende said.
“But before my wife sat on the stool, two men came and told us that a body of a five year old kid had been found near the swamp close to their home. We went and found Nakiwunga’s body. It had even started decomposing,” he said.
Katende said they also discovered Namaleego’s body in the same area.
“After confirming the death of my children, I started asking myself why this had happened to me. I have never killed or harmed anybody. I don’t have any grudge with someone. I kept on asking who killed my children?” he said.
Police took the bodies to the city mortuary at Mulago hospital for postmortem. He said, according to the postmortem report, his children were drowned.
Katende said after the burial he was afraid to stay at home because he thought the killers of his children were after him in the first place.
“But when the local chairman and other investigators continued to ask me about anybody I suspected, I remembered my stepson Twaibu Semakula whom I arrested early this year for stealing my three sewing machines worth Shs 1.5m each. When he was released, he told neighbours that one day, he would hurt me in revenge,” he said.
Semakula confessed to stealing the sewing machines and selling them to a neighbour at Shs 20,000 each. The neighbour returned the sewing machines.
Katende said when Semakula was released; he chased him from his home. Katende said he strongly connects his children’s murder to Semakula because he was linked to a similar murder of his two nephews in 2016 at Kawaala, Nansana town council. He said these kids were killed in a similar manner.
Katende said the Kawaala village chairman confirmed to court that Semakula was last seen with his nephews heading for the swamp.
“But Semakula told court he had taken the children to his uncles who were witchdoctors and they sacrificed the children. The suspects were jailed in Luzira prison,” Katende said.
Semakula was also jailed in Kampiringisa remand home but since he was still a juvenile, humble and not behaving wildly like other detained children, he was released.
Semakula has now been arrested and is detained at Wakiso police station. Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Luke Oweyisigire confirmed the arrest.