The Kano Police Command has smashed a syndicate that specialises in trafficking children from the northern part of the country to the east.
The police said in the process of arresting culprits, operatives of the command rescued nine children kidnapped in Kano and trafficked to Onitsha in Anambra State for child slavery.
It was gathered that the rescue followed a public outcry by some parents that there was rise in cases of missing children in the metropolis.
Addressing a press conference, the state Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Ilyasu, said the command’s Tactical Teams of Operation Puff Adder were detailed for a discreet investigation, deploying community policing tools in rescuing the minors.
“A syndicate perpetuating this heinous act was busted and eight suspects that specialised in kidnapping, concealment and keeping in confinement kidnapped persons, buying and selling of minors and trafficking in persons were tracked and arrested.
“Nine kidnapped victims were rescued at Onitsha in Anambra State. All suspects confessed to their offences.”
Although the police chief was silent about their conversion and rechristening, a security source familiar with the situation said that the children were first shaved, renamed, converted to Christianity and then sold off either for adoption or “child slavery”.
A document reveals the original names and new names of the children. For instance, 10-year-old Umar Faruq Ibrahim and nine-year-old Aisha Mohammed Abdullahi – kidnapped some four year ago – were renamed Onyedika Ogbodo and Ozioma Ogbodo respectively.
Some of the children could not even recall their real names as they only answer their new names, it was learnt.
It was gathered that one Sagir Mohammed Bako of Yankaba quarters and others reported to the Commissioner of Police that several number of their children whose ages are between two and six years have been kidnapped and taken away to unknown destination by unknown persons.
On September 12, at about 11:00am one Paul Owne of Dakata Quarters and Mercy Paul alias Maimuna of same address were arrested while trying to take one of the kidnapped victims, Haruna Sagir Bako, to Onitsha in Anambra State.
The victim was kidnapped a day earlier on his way back from Islamiyya School at Yankaba Quarters by Messrs Onwe and Paul. Their arrest lead to recovery of the children.