Security agencies, parents and non-governmental organisations in Uganda have sounded alarm bells over the increasing number of children who are being killed for ritual purposes.
At least six children are believed to have been murdered in the last three weeks for suspected ritual purposes in northern Uganda, a child protection organisation has said.
It is suspected that businesspeople buy body parts, which they believe can enhance their businesses.
"Every day our children are being sacrificed by people who believe in witchcraft," said Adam Kiiza, a parent in western Uganda.
"We now have to keep close to our children so that they are not taken by wrong elements for sacrifice."
A research carried out by the African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) has revealed that the six children were killed in northern Uganda were victims of people seeking charms to enhance their businesses.
ANPPCAN is a Pan‐African organisation committed to addressing the problem of child abuse and promoting the rights of children in Africa.
On Monday the organisation said three ritual murders had been committed in northern Uganda in the past two weeks.
"In one of the bizarre cases, two year old Mercy Ajok went missing on 28th October 2012 and her body was discovered on 2nd November 2012 floating on the river banks," ANPPCAN said.
"According to the doctor who carried out the post mortem, the hands were cut off, ears cut, private parts removed, heart removed and also part of the intestines were missing."
The organisation said bodies of all victims had several parts missing pointing to ritual murders.
In another incident, bodies of eight month old twins Apio and Acen Immaculate were found dumped in a toilet with deep cuts on their heads.
Daniel Otti, a police officer in the child protection unit said a 15 year-old girl was murdered in Lugazi near the capital Kampala.
"The other is a four year old girl whose torso was discovered floating on River Nile in Jinja district," he said.
"Another case happened in Kasubi where a man sacrificed his own son.
"These cases show that child sacrifice is on the rise," he said.
ANPPCAN said civil society organisations in Uganda were worried about the upsurge in ritual murder cases.
"All the stakeholders must work together to stop this barbaric act.
"The future of this country, which has just celebrated 50 years of Independence, is increasingly becoming a difficult one for children to live in.
"Where will they go?" said Anslem Wandega, executive director of ANPPCAN's Ugandan chapter.
The groups are lobbying parliament to amend the 1957 Witchcraft Act to regulate the activities of traditional healers.
They also want government to establish a regulatory body to monitor the work of traditional healers, and blacklist all those associated with ritual murders.
The current law only prescribes a sentence of five years in cases of witchcraft including ritual murders.