Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Beware! Child Traffickers on The Prowl: 45 Children Abducted By Traffickers, Ritualists in Delta, Anambra States

Three women, a purported pastor and five others were recently arrested at Nkpor and Ogidi communities in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State for allegedly stealing 30 children. This came as 15 children were abducted within four days in parts of Delta State.

Police investigators from Asaba, the Delta State capital, picked up the pastor and other suspects in their various locations with the stolen children at Nkpor and Ogidi. The suspects were first detained at Ogidi Police Station before they were transferred to Asaba.

Mrs. Miracle Mbonu, whose 11-month-old son was stolen from her Eke Nkpor residence where he was left with his nine-year old sister, said the abductor pretended to be her mother’s friend.

She said: “That day, a woman told my kids that I was her friend and that they should join her to look for me. “She took them to New Parts Market. From there, she escaped with my son after deceiving my daughter that she wanted to buy something for my son.”

Also, another woman, who pleaded anonymity, said the culprits stole her son at Ogidi. She appealed to the police to help her recover her son. When contacted, the Ogidi Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Mr. Hassan Musa, said the case was being handled by the Delta State Police Command. Meanwhile, suspected ritual killers and child traffickers, now on the prowl in Asaba and its environs, abducted over 15 children within four days.

The disappearance of five children within four days in Oko, Ibusa, Okpanam and Ogwashi-Uku, in Oshimili South, Oshimili North and Aniocha South, has caused panic among parents and guardians. One of the victims was a seven-year-old boy who was abducted at Umuomake at Okpanam in Oshimili North Local Government Area of the state. The boy was allegedly abducted while playing in front of his parents’ compound by unknown persons suspected to be ritual killers.

About six hours after the boy was kidnapped, a nine-year-old boy went missing at the Inyanga Market in the same Okpanam, where the victim’s mother sells consumables. The abductors were said to have posed as the victim’s mother’s customers before they asked the boy to go and buy biscuits. “The mother, thereafter, became afraid after some minutes when her son did not return. She then raised the alarm, which attracted the attention of passersby,” a witness said. The witness said the  disappearance of children in the last few days in the locality had become unexplainable. She said: “Over five cases of missing children within four days are unbelievable.”

The alleged leader of the kidnap gang, Mrs. Abigael, aka Madam Cash, who was arrested in connection with the abduction, allegedly bribed the police with N2.5 million to be left off the hook. But when contacted on the phone, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Celestina Kalu, denied the allegation. She, however, said the police had rescued 12 children from Madam Cash. Kalu said the command was currently battling with child stealing and trafficking.

According to her, investigation has been stepped up  to unravel the members of the trafficking syndicate. The PPRO said a member of the trafficking network, a pastor (whose name was not disclosed), was arrested in Anambra State.

However, irate youths, on Monday night, destroyed Madam Cash’s shop at Umuaji Quarters, Asaba. At press time, parents with cases of missing children from different communities in the state had besieged the state Police Command Headquarters, Asaba, with pictures and baptismal cards of their children to identify them.

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