Police have mounted a search for a mother, Justin Namuleme, who is accused of kidnapping her own son in so as to extort Shs 4 million from her husband.
5-year-old Adrian Wansireko went missing from his parents' home in Nansana, Wakiso district, last week. Shortly after, Namuleme, informed her husband, Stephen Wasinga, that Wansireko had been kidnapped by unidentified assailants. Wasinga promptly filed a case of child kidnapping, and information was disseminated to all police stations in the Kampala Metropolitan North region.
However, Wasinga was shocked when he found a letter on their doorstep, instructing him to send Shs 4 million if he wished to have his son returned safely.
"When I returned from the police, I found a letter instructing me to send Shs 4 million to secure the release of my son. The letter warned me not to involve the police. Nevertheless, I went back to inform the police about this new development," Wasinga recounted.
The police advised Wasinga to bring his wife to the police station to explain how their child had been kidnapped from home, especially since they had been left together.
"I did not see the people who took our son because he was in the compound. It appears these individuals were nearby and closely monitoring my movements. I implore my husband to send the money to ensure the safety of our child," Namuleme reportedly stated at the police station.
Luke Owoyesigyire, deputy Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson, revealed that the police officers decided to deceive the alleged kidnappers by requesting specific details about how to recover the child after sending the money. During the initial attempt, it was discovered that the provided telephone number was not operational, which raised concerns for the child's father.
"However, Wasinga was taken aback when his wife assured him not to worry, claiming that the telephone number would be active in a few minutes. Indeed, the number became operational, leaving the father perplexed. He immediately informed our officers about the situation," Owoyesigyire said.
Police officers began questioning how Namuleme knew that the telephone number would be active again in a few minutes, and the phone indeed reconnected to the network.
"As she continued to be interrogated, she managed to escape through a back door. Shortly afterward, the child returned home. The boy informed his father that his mother had placed him on a motorcycle that brought him back home. The wife has since fled, but we are actively searching for her," Owoyesigyire stated.
Wasinga has disclosed that his wife had obtained numerous loans for undisclosed reasons, leading him to suspect that she had orchestrated the kidnapping as a means to extort money from him to repay these debts.
"We've noticed several people coming to our home inquiring about my wife and demanding money from her. I do not understand the reason for these loans, and now I am suspicious that she intended to acquire money through ransom to clear her debts," Wasinga remarked.
Owoyesigyire noted that they are currently in pursuit of Namuleme and any potential accomplices since it is evident that others were involved in keeping the child and providing the telephone number for the ransom.
"We want to caution individuals against using kidnapping as a means to extract money from spouses, family members, or friends. It is a criminal act, and anyone apprehended will face legal consequences," Owoyesigyire warned.