Child Kidnapping continues in Imo …As police seem helpless
Child Kidnappers appear to be on the loose again in Imo State and the police are not catching up with them.
Several toddlers have gone missing in the past, in the state, and there is yet no record of any of them having been found or reunited with their grieving parents. Now, the crime seems to have continued, leaving many families frightened, parents puzzled and communities confused.
The latest event was an attempted kidnap of a baby boy, which was foiled by the youths of the community who also took laws into their hands and roasted the fleeing kidnappers to death like chickens.
The incident occurred Wednesday, last week, at Ezelu Okwe in Onuimo Local Government Area. Three young men snatched a newborn baby boy from his mother, whose name has been withheld. She gave out a loud cry, which attracted some youths who rushed to her aid and chased after the kidnappers.
Earlier in the week, in that same community, another child was successfully taken by kidnappers. But this time, the angry youths ran after the abductors, caught them and killed them instantly. All the three kidnappers were burnt alive in the absence of the police.
“The youths were angered by the fact that a baby girl was stolen in the community two weeks ago. They wanted the killing of the kidnappers to serve as a deterrent to others, ” a source said.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Andrew Enwerem who said, after the incident, that the police were awaiting full details from the Divisional Police Officer in the LGA, has not said anything new.
The spate of child kidnapping in Imo State in the last three to four years has been disturbing. A minimum of 10 children have been reported missing or kidnapped and there is no record of any of them being found.
The painful cases of three young children kidnapped from two families at Ubowalla, Emekuku, in Owerri North LGA in 2014, is still fresh in our memories. Baby Olachi, 11 months, daughter of Mr and Mrs Eustace Ibe was snatched at gunpoint by kidnappers while the family was asleep. One year-old baby boys, Chidiebube Michael Njoku and Victor Ihedioha from the same community were also similarly kidnapped. Njoku was kidnapped in 2011 and victor in 2014.
Several other undocumented child kidnappings have occurred in other communities. Recall that in Ezeoha village in Owerri- Nworji community of Nkwere, Mrs Queen Ihieme’s home was invaded by gunmen who kidnapped two of her children Adanna, two years old and Kamsiyochukwu six months, at the same time, shooting some adults who tried to restrain them.
A similar thing occurred in Mbano Okigwe, Nwangele LGAs where gunmen also shot people and snatched babies. An incident occurred on
Sunday, August 18, 2013 in Umudurukwere, Isiebu Autonomous Community in Isiala Mbano LGA, where a two month old baby-girl, daughter of Ignatius and Patience Onuoha was whisked away from her home, around 9:30 p.m.
The mother was breast-feeding her baby, when the kidnappers came and took her at gun point.
“One of them swooped on the baby in my arms. I struggled with him up to where their motorcycle was parked. The other hoodlum joined his colleague, they dragged me on the floor and sped off with my baby”, the mother tearfully recalled.
Police have not solved any of these kidnapped cases to the best of our knowledge.