Security personnel over the weekend arrested two women on suspicion of stealing and trying to traffic a 6-mont-old child in Koda in Dolo Payam of Juba County.
According to one of suspects, the 6-month-old baby boy was allegedly being taken for ritual sacrifice.
The incident which happened on Saturday involved a woman identified as Amer Nanduru who was transporting the stolen infant to Western Equatoria State but was intercepted at the Koda checkpoint west of Juba City by security officials.
According to Maj. Mayen Malual Deng, officers manning the checkpoint became suspicious because the baby was crying continuously.
“At around 10 am on Saturday, a certain woman came with a six-month-old child and when she reached the customs checkpoint, she found officers from the Military Intelligence and police. After being interrogated, they found out that the child did not belong to her,” he said.
“They reported the matter to me and I told them to go and report to the police. While at the police, she admitted that the child was not hers.”
According to the police, Amer Nanduru, the suspect, admitted that she stole the child from the neighbor of a family she had visited for three days and that she was supposed to take the child to another woman called Sadia who was to use him for ritual purposes to help expand her collapsing business.
The suspect revealed that it is not the first time she has stolen and trafficked children because last year she kidnapped a 5-year-old child from Gudele and was paid SSP 250,000.
“The one I took last year, I gave her (Sadia). She said her business was not doing well and she gave me SSP 250,000 last year in September,” Nanduru revealed.
However, Sadia, the alleged accomplice, said she had never met the suspect.
“I swear to God I cannot do that thing. I know God and I cannot do a thing like that,” Sadia vowed, adding that God blessed her with 10 children of her own.
Esther Keji, the grandmother of the stolen child, said she welcomed the suspect to her son’s home but she ended up kidnapping the baby.
“This is just because I knew her from the first time she came to my neighbor’s house so when she came this time round, I welcomed her to my house only for her to steal this child on the fourth day,” Keji said.
Maj. Mayen cautioned the public against welcoming strangers to their homes.
Meanwhile, Police Spokesperson Maj. Gen. Daniel Justin said cases of child trafficking are rare in Juba and that most child abduction cases are registered in Jonglei State.