The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNCHR) has expressed shock at the cruel murder of a South Sudanese refugee girl in Palabek refugee settlement, Lamwo District, Northern Uganda and demanded an investigation into the horrific incident.
The two-year-old child was declared missing on March 21 before her decapitated body was found dumped in a nearby swamp days later.
The area Local Council III chairperson, Christopher Omal said the deceased could have been killed in an act of ritual sacrifice.
“Her right hand and private parts were cut off,” said Omal.
The UN Refugee Agency said it was “deeply shocked and saddened” by the killing.
“This is a terrible tragedy and there is no justification for such a senseless act of barbarism,” said, Joël Boutroue, UNHCR Representative in Uganda.
“On behalf of UNHCR, I would like to covey our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased child.”
He urged law enforcement authorities to ensure protection of refugees in the settlements.
UNHCR through its partner Lutheran World Federation (LWF) facilitated burial of the child this past Saturday.
The Ugandan police are reported to have launched an investigation into the killing. A South Sudanese doctor has since been arrested as part of a wider investigation into the shocking incident.
UNCHR urged authorities to “apprehend the perpetrators and make sure justice is served.”
More than 85 per cent of over 1 million refugees who have arrived in Uganda are women and children (below 18 years in age).
Since December 2013, when South Sudan’s crisis erupted in Juba, more than two million South Sudanese have fled to neighboring countries, while another two million people are estimated to be internally displaced.