Joy as minors kidnapped five years ago re-unite with family

There was joy and celebrations at the Shanzu Courts on Tuesday when two minors who were kidnaped five years ago were reunited with their families.

The two girls now aged 10 and 14 were received by their emotional parents who had been eagerly waiting for the court to hand them over to them at the law courts. They were aged five and seven years when they were kidnapped from their homes in Bamburi.

The suspected kidnappers Margaret Juma Magero and David Ochieng Ometho believed to be man and wife were arraigned before Senior Principal Magistrate Diana Mochache on Tuesday for the mention of their case.

The suspects who first appeared in court on November 26 are said to be members of a syndicate of a church group involved in child trafficking locally and internationally, aided with their relative in Switzerland who is married to a Swiss husband, according to investigators.

Mr Mochache, while addressing the fully packed court room, directed that a DNA report be done on the two children and another whose parents had not been identified, before they are handed over to their parents.

“A DNA report is yet to be released but I will release the two girls to their parents, but they shall not leave the court’s jurisdiction or handed to any other person without court’s direction until the DNA report is released,” the magistrate said.

Ms Mochache directed that the third child aged two years old, who has not been claimed, be placed under the custody of Happy Children’s Home in Nairobi until his parents are identified.

“The young boy will be released to Happy Children’s Home in Nairobi, we request the media to help the boy find his parents,” said Ms Mochache.

While holding the minor in her arms as she presided over the court session, the magistrate noted that the minor needs proper care and speedy identification of his parents.

Parents of the other two minors remained calm in the public gallery while shedding tears of joy as they met their children who had been taken away from them by kidnappers.

The two suspects have been charged with three counts of stealing and trafficking minors aged seven, five and one and a half years.

The court was told the suspects trafficked the minors from Mombasa to their (suspects’) parents’ home in Siaya County purporting to be their biological parents.

The magistrate, who presided over the case at the children’s chambers directed that the accused be led by police to identify homes where they kidnapped the boy.

Ms Margaret refused to defend herself but only said “I want a lawyer” despite attempts by the magistrate to have her speak.

According to court’s documents, the suspects who hail from Mtwapa, Kilifi County kidnaped the minors from their homes in Maweni and Bamburi, Kisauni –Sub County on March 18, 2009 and April 4, 2011.

Prosecution had opposed their release on bond saying the two are involved in a network of child trafficking within Kenya and beyond, hence likely to abscond court, interfere with witnesses and circumvent investigations.

State Council Berryl Marinda had said crucial leads indicate that the suspects might have trafficked other children out of the country to other persons including their relatives in Switzerland.

The magistrate directed that the suspects be detained for two weeks as police investigate if they have at one point travelled outside the country and to seize their passports.

She also directed that the two minors already rescued be put under a counselling programme.

The two were arrested on October 27 and November 17, this year in Nairobi and Siaya County respectively.

The police said they have been unable to identify the residence of Ms Marget since at Mtwapa where she claims she lives, her neighbours had failed to identify her and she keeps taking police in cycles.

The case will be mentioned on December 28.

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