Gulu police arrest couple for stealing baby

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Mr James Layee and his wife Ms Betty Adokorach with their recovered child Joshua Ojuk at Gulu central police station yesterday (Sunday). (Photo: Denis Omony)

Police in Gulu are holding a married couple from Amuru District on charges of stealing a one-year and nine-month old baby boy, Joshua Ojuk.

Mr Grace Davis Pande, the police officer in charge in charge of Gulu central police station identifies the suspects as Betty Angwech and Francis Opiro in their 30s.

Mr Pande says that Angwech stole the baby from Katikati Village in Ongako Sub-county, Omoro District on July 11, this year, before taking it to her husband, Opira a resident of Amii lobo Village in Lamogi Sub-county, Amuru District from where they were arrested on 15 this month at around 11pm.

The police officer says that Angwech was first detained at Lacor police before she was transferred to Gulu police station yesterday (Sunday) morning.

“As of now, the suspects are in our cells, interrogation is still going on and we will have to know what happened exactly but personally have not met them yet following the incident” says Mr Pande.

A source close to the suspects says that Angwech had separated with her husband a year ago over barrenness but later returned with a baby boy claiming that at the time of their separation she was already carrying a pregnancy.

Efforts to get a comment from the suspects on the matter were fruitless since the police blocked our reporter from talking to them.

“We can’t grant permission to any journalist to interview the suspects right now,” said Mr Pande.

According to the stolen child’s father, Mr James Layee, 21, Angwech, the suspect and neighbour sharing the same compound asked him to allow her take care of the baby since its mother, Ms Fiona Adokorach, 25, was down with malaria.

“It has been a real hard moment spending days without my child. In fact, I could not even eat since I had lost appetite” Ms Adokorach explained.

The law

According to the Uganda Penal Code Act, any person who, with intent to deprive any parent, guardian or other person who has the lawful care or charge of a child under the age of fourteen years of the possession of such child—forcibly or fraudulently takes or entices away, or detains the child; or receives or harbours the child, knowing it to have been so taken or enticed away or detained, commits a felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

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