8 September 2017

Tanzania: From Abduction, Ransom Demands to Murders of Innocent Children

Photo: The Citizen
The mother of the late Moureen David holds the poster that was sent by kidnappers a few days after her child was abducted. The poster reads "Tomorrow is the end of Moureen because you have failed to meet our demands…".

Dar es Salaam — On August 21, Arusha residents learnt of shocking news of children abduction.

It all started with a three-year old Ikram Salim, who was abducted on August 21 at 5pm.

Then another six-year old girl named Moureen David fell into the kidnappers trap. They snatched her six days later at 6pm.

The departed were residents of Olasiti Ward in Arusha Region.

On August 28, at 5:45pm, two other boys were also kidnapped.

These were three-year olds Bakari Sele-man and Ayoub Fred.

They were abducted from the Field-Force section of Kwa-Mrombo on Monday evening.

While Seleman and Fred were successfully rescued from the kidnappers and were sent back to their parents on the same day at 8pm, Salim and David faced a different fate.

The two children were murdered and their bodies were recovered from an abandoned pit latrine at Mji Mpya area in Olkerian suburbs in Arusha city in the evening of September 5.

The children who were abducted first-- Salim and David--were living at Burka and Olkarien respectively.

A young man aged 18, Samson Petro, who is a primary suspect of the children's abduction, was apprehended on September 2 at Shitungulu Guest House at Katoro, Geita District and was sent to Arusha on September 4.

He admitted to have abducted the chil-dren and killed two of them, according to the Arusha Regional Police Commander (RPC), Mr Charles Mkumbo.

He claimed that the suspect admitted en-gaging in the 'kidnapping businesses' in search for money because he came from a poor family.

Petro, who was staying with his parents, was a form-three dropout, according to his statement after being arrested.

He was nabbed at a lodge known at Shitungulu in Geita District, holding a two-year-old child to a ransom. He demanded Sh4 million from parents.

The child, Justine Ombeni, was abducted during Idd al Adha celebrations on September 1.

While going to press, reports had it that police shot Petro died while trying to escape.

The Citizen, based on police reports since the news on abduction broke, has not learnt any other person or group associated with the abduction apart from Petro.

Bakari and Ayoub, residents of FFU, Murieti Ward close to Olasiti, were re-turned to their parents by a boda rider, who claimed to have no idea and connection with the abductors.

He claimed that he was just given the two children to bring them to Kimaro with no idea of what was going on.

The bodaboda rider known by one name, Nemesi, was however put under arrest by the police officers.

The two innocent children, Bakari and Ayoub, later narrated that they were abducted while at home around Olasiti neighbourhood.

There were sent afar and provided with rice and beverages.

None of them, however, remembered the exact area they were sent to.

Aisha Shaaban, who is Bakari's mother, said that the children were abducted on August 28 at noon by who she described as "unknown people."

They were abducted while playing outside the house and their parents only realised that their children were missing in the evening.

They later discovered that the children were kidnapped after receiving messages from the abductors informing them of the safety of their children and that they wanted Sh4.5 million to release.

The abductors sent the message written on a paper and gave it to a child to pass it to the parents' children.

The message also asked the parents not to report the incident to police and threatened them that if they defied children would be 'slaughtered.'

After that message, the parents reported the incident to the area's representative who reached out to the abductors through telephone.

The abductors insisted that they be given the ransom for them to release the children.

But the money demanded was huge, according to parents.

They left the representative who was still in conversation with the abductors, asking them to accept Sh100, 000.

Because there was no money by that time, the parents went back home and reported the incident to a nearby police station.

Fortunately, around 7pm the children were released and sent back home.

A 'boda' rider brought the two children. The children were then sent to the police station.

However, the other two children were still held hostage as efforts to get them re-leased were underway.

These were the three-year old Salim and the six-year old Moureen, a standard one pupil from Lucky Vincent Primary School.

Although Sh300, 000 was sent to the abductors in a bid to lure them to release one Salim, the mission went unsuccessful.

The 10 cell leader of Olkerian village, Daudi Safari, described the incidents as "frightening" and that they have decided to "take precautionary measures."

The Arusha RPC said three people were already held accountable in connection with the incidents and that investigations were ongoing.

Nonetheless, before the investigation was completed, the police and the parents of the two missing children were taken aback and their dreams of having the children back to their hands were all quashed.

The two children were murdered and their bodies were recovered from an abandoned pit latrine at Mji Mpya area in Olkerian suburbs within Arusha city on the evening of September 5.

Initial reports indicated that after the kid-napping of the children, Petro used his mobile phone to send messages to the parents demanding ransom.

He said the suspect killed the children and abandoned them his demands were not met.

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