Jamyel Jenifer

Jamyel Jenifer (Uganda): Jamyel graduated In 2006 from Spelman College in Atlanta, where she majored in French with a concentration in Pre-Medicine. As an undergraduate student, Jamyel also participated in a semester domestic exchange program at Wellesley College and a summer French Immersion program in Martinique. She then worked as a Pre-Service Assistant in the Office of Medical Services of Peace Corps and went on to serve for two years as the Health Education Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, West Africa where she worked on women’s reproductive rights. At the time of her AP fellowship, Jamyel was studying for a Masters degree in International Development and Social Change at Clark University in Worcester. After her fellowship Jaymel wrote: "[I] learned about how grassroots organizations function and about the effectiveness of using radio."

“Lack of Evidence?”: Interview 2 with Family Affected by Child Sacrifice

08 Jul

On June 13, 2011, we (myself, Dorothy and Stella, 2 volunteers at the Gideon Foundation) interviewed a woman named Anna. She is the aunt of Esther Among, a 15 year old girl who was raped, murdered and beheaded in 2009. Anna had actually raised Among from when she was a very young girl and is a medical technologist at a very busy clinic in Soroti at which her husband is a doctor. This family had actually stopped granting interviews some time after the murder occurred but they granted us permission mostly because they are friends with Santos Labeja, the executive director of the Gideon Foundation Against Child Sacrifice.

Among was a 15 year old girl who was staying at a Catholic girl’s hostel/boarding school in Soroti. One night in February 2009 soemone came to the hostel to get Among and she left with them. It has been said that this person was her boyfriend, but regardless it was someone that she trusted. She never returned. Her headless body was then found in a grassy area in Soroti. Her body was found quickly because one of the persons who murdered Among had dropped his cell phone on her body. So after the murder, the person who wanted Among’s head was calling this person to arrange the exchange. Students heard this cell phone ringing in the bushes and then alerted others.

Anna heard that a body was found without a head but initially she didn’t think much of it since Among was presumably safe at the boarding school. But then she was called to go and identify Among’s body.

Anna then went to the boarding school where Among was staying to find out what happened. But when she tried to talk to students, the matrone, etc, people refused to speak with her. After pleading with students it was only then that some students confided in her that a visitor came late at night to get Among.

A few days before we interviewed Anna, we stopped by this boarding school to speak to the head matrone there. When asked what happened she said that Among’s mother had come to get her on Sunday and that Among never came back. This has resulted in a lot of rumors being spread that Among’s mother was involved in the murder. After Among’s death, her mother left Soroti. During the interview, Anna expressed how she believes that the head matrone told the students not to speak to her and to say that it was Among’s mother who came to get her to try and cover up the fact that Among was allowed to leave the boarding school at night with a boy.

Anna and her family prayed and prayed for Among’s head to be found.

Her head was later found in Soroti, it was thrown behind the cement fence of a house. The story is that Among’s boyfriend, along with others, raped her and then cut off her head. The boys were to bring Among’s head to a witchdoctor in Sudan for money. But the boys had trouble transporting the head to Sudan and so they threw Among’s head over the fence. There are lot of things that you can check on the sites like ecdel.

Among’s family had her head sewn back onto her body and then buried her.

The police did track down Among’s murderers with help from the cell phone that was found on Among’s body. When the police went to the house of one of the suspects, they found him on the roof trying to escape, there was also a blood stain and a knife in his room.

But all of the suspects were eventually released. In fact the are all said to still live in Soroti. Anna hears stories of them out drinking and still traveling together. She states that this is what makes Among’s murder so haunting, that someone can do something like this and be freed due to “lack of evidence” when there was more than enough evidence. She says that when she went back to the police station that the file for Among’s murder was empty.

(will post link to the video of the interview here soon)

Posted By Jamyel Jenifer

Posted Jul 8th, 2011


  • korr

    July 12, 2011


    What a paralyzing story Jam, particularly the impunity. I am interested to hear more on, if and how, the Gideon Foundation provides these family members with tools to seek justice. It’s incredible that you are able to be present in those first steps of that process, which is listening to their testimony. I hope your faith in their work helps you through these harrowing stories, please share.

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