Sunday May 11 2014

Baby set free after tip-off by kidnapper’s girlfriend


Mr George Ndiwalana and Ms Betty Byateesa of Nangabo Sub-county in Wakiso District must be one of the happiest couples today.

Last Thursday, an unknown man rode a motorcycle into their home, while the couple was away at work, and lied to Ms Byateesa’s sister, Maria Nabukenya, that he had been sent to pick three-year-old Jordan Mwesigwa.
The unsuspecting nanny handed over the boy to the cyclist who had given her a pineapple, claiming it was from the boy’s parents.

“He told me that he had been sent my sister to deliver the pineapple and also take the child to her,” Ms Nabukenya told police.

That would mark the start of two days of agony and anxiety as Jordan’s parents embarked on the search for their son.

On the same Thursday at 4pm, Ms Byateesa received a phone call from someone who told her they were holding her son but on instructions of another person.

“They told me that they were working for their bosses who were to pay them Shs80 million. But if I gave them Shs100 million, they would give my son back to me instead,” Ms Byateesa said.

The kidnapper, said Ms Byateesa, asked her to send Shs300,000 in the meantime for Jordan’s upkeep as the negotiations were underway.

At this point, Mr Ndiwalana, who is an accountant at an examinations body, had contacted the police. The request for money from the kidnapper would offer the much-needed breakthrough as the police tracked the phone using the details offered.

As the kidnapper waited for his ransom, the police were busy tracking the phone’s location and other people who had been contacted by that number.
It turned out that one of those contacted earlier was the kidnapper’s girlfriend, whom the police arrested and interrogated.

A detective, who asked to stay anonymous in order to share with us how the operation was executed, said it was the girlfriend who gave them solid leads to the suspect.

“We called him and informed him that his girlfriend was in police custody. We cautioned him against doing anything sinister since we knew who he was and where he lived,” said the detective.

According to the detective, the caution worked.
“On Friday at 8pm, he called the parents, saying he had dropped the child at a petrol station in Wampewo. We rushed there and indeed found the child,” he said.

On Saturday, police chief Kale Kayihura handed over Jordan to his beaming parents at the police headquarters in Naguru, Kampala.
The suspects are yet to be arrested but Gen Kayihura said the police would charge Ms Nabukenya and the house-help, Ms Hanifa Nantongo, with neglect of duties.

“How can you give out a child to a stranger without calling the parents? No! No! They must be charged,” Gen Kayihura said.
The police chief added that the investigations were focusing on whether the suspect was part of a larger organised group.

kakama’s case
In June 2010, Kham Kakama, an 18-month-old baby, was abducted from his parents’ home in Bugolobi, Kampala. Despite asking for a ransom and getting it, the kidnappers went on to kill the baby, whose body was discovered in a swamp in Kampala. The suspects, who included the maid, were later arrested, charged with murder and convicted.