How locals, police tracked a woman with stolen newborn baby

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How locals, police tracked a woman with stolen newborn baby
A police patrol car Namasale landing site where the stolen baby was recovered on May 24 | Courtesy

AMOLATAR | A woman masquerading as a hospital attendant has been arrested for allegedly stealing a newborn baby girl.

The incident occurred in the wee hours of Friday morning, shortly after the baby was delivered at Amolatar Health Centre IV.

The suspect reportedly entered the maternity ward at the health centre under the guise of an attendant waiting for a patient in the labour suite.

Dr Moses Ekwang, the in-charge of Amolatar Health Centre IV, said the suspect mingled with the medical staff and patients, creating an air of familiarity and trust.

“She was speaking different languages like Kumam, Luganda, Luo, and English. At a critical moment when the mother and staff were preoccupied, she seized the opportunity to take the newborn and swiftly exited the facility,” said the facility in charge.

The Resident District Commissioner for Amolatar District, Francis Rwotlonyo, said the suspect pretended to be waiting for a patient at the facility.

“Her act was only noticed when the staff at the maternity ward realised the baby was missing and the suspect was nowhere near the facility, so people recalled about her and immediately we were informed,” Rwotlonyo told Nilepost on Friday.

North Kyoga Regional Police spokesperson, SP Patrick Jimmy Okema said police and other security agencies sprang into action after the case was reported at Amolatar Police station, utilizing local radio stations and social media platforms to broadcast the details of the suspect and the missing infant.

“Communication was dispersed to various stakeholders using local radio stations and other media platforms, and all entry and exit routes were blocked. The management of the Ferry at Namasale landing site were equally alerted,” said the police spokesperson in a statement released on Friday morning.

Shortly after the information spread on the radio stations, locals started making phone calls with numerous tips about possible routes the suspect could have taken.

Indeed, SP Okema said, acting on these leads, police were able to trace the suspect aboard a ferry leaving Namasale Landing site to Zengebe landing site in Nakasongola District.

“Today at around 6am, the suspect was arrested and found in possession of the baby, who was unharmed. We want to sincerely thank every stakeholder for taking an interest in this matter. It made it easy for the suspect to be arrested, and the baby was recovered,” says Okema.

The motive behind Akullo’s actions remains unclear. Police said a charge of child stealing has been preferred against the suspect, who is currently being held at Amolatar Central Police Station, pending investigations to determine if she acted alone or was part of a larger network.

The incident has sparked a conversation about security measures in health facilities, especially in maternity wards.

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