Sacrifice survivor's second chance

A LITTLE boy who was brutally castrated and almost hacked to death by witch doctors in Uganda has been given a second chance thanks to the skill of Hunter surgeons.

Allan Semeatya, 10, was snatched on his way home from school by men from his village three years ago.

They castrated him, drained blood from his neck and then, in a final axe blow, tried to decapitate Allan so he could not identify them.

Allan was found in the bushes later that night by a passer-by who heard his gurgling sounds.

He was rushed to hospital and spent a month in a coma.

Allan was taken in by Kyampisi Childcare Ministries after his father had to sell their house to pay the medical bills.

The charity found the family living in a slum, set them up with a new property and sent Allan to school.

Kyampisi arranged for Allan to come to Newcastle for surgery on his skull.

The young soccer fan lost a piece of his skull in the attack and neurosurgeon Dr John Christie and plastic surgeon Dr Nick Moncrief donated their time to insert a plastic plate into the space and repair his scalp so hair will cover the scar.

Allan had the surgery at John Hunter Children's Hospital last Thursday and is staying in Edgeworth before returning to Uganda.

Allan is one of many children in the African nation who have been abducted for child sacrifice.

To date, police have recorded about 30 cases but one report estimates up to 900 children are missing.

Ritual sacrifice has long been a part of Ugandan culture but was mainly confined to animals. In recent years, a growing middle class is thought to have prompted a rise in child sacrifice.

The superstitious believe killing a child will bring them prosperity.

The problem has been exacerbated after the neighbouring Tanzanian government cracked down on witch doctors and they fled to Uganda.

The men who attacked Allan were arrested but never charged. Advocates would like to go through the courts but have no money for legal representation.

Allan has some minor brain damage from the attack - he still has some seizures and reduced movement on his left side. He will also need hormone replacement therapy as he grows.

Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga, from the charity, said Allan and his family still bore the emotional scars of the attack but were healing.

Allan liked to sing, dance and listen to his favourite song, I'm a Believer.

"Allan knows what happened to him very well," he said.

"Looking at him, there's no way he should be alive. It's a miracle they found him that night.

"It's a miracle he's alive," he said.

Pastor Sewakiryanga said it was common to hear about missing children in Uganda and a lack of police resources made it hard to battle.

"There are lots of mothers every day in the news and their children are never found," he said.

"People do it in secrecy."

He said the child-sacrifice trend in Uganda was fuelled by poverty and ignorance.

"People are desperate," he said.

"They don't get there's no logic to it.

"If they see someone kill a child and get rich, then they will do it."

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