Rwanda National Police has rescued a two-year-old boy who was kidnapped from Burundi and smuggled into Rwanda, last week.
The boy was kidnapped last Friday from his home in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura by their house help identified as Samson Nshimirimana.
He allegedly connived with a Rwandan national, Anselme Nshimiyimana, who was a tenant at the boy’s home.
The boy was rescued from the two alleged kidnappers on Tuesday evening while in a Kigali-bound public vehicle on Huye-Kigali highway.
The two suspects were arrested and investigations still underway, police say.
It was a moment of joy on Tuesday night at the RNP headquarters in Kacyiru as the mother, Beatha Uwineza, who had travelled from Burundi, was reunited with her son.
“This is a miracle; I never thought this would happen so fast...because the kidnappers had threatened us that they would harm our son if we don’t follow their instructions,” said the overwhelmed mother.
The boy is the second born of his parents.
On the fateful day, Uwineza said, she gave her son to their Burundian housekeeper to take him to the day care, about five minutes walk from their home in Gihosha commune.
“That was the last time I had from either Nshimirimana or my son. But after about two hours, Nshimirimana’s friends in the neighbourhood came to our home and wondering why he had not returned,” Uwineza narrated.
Nshimirimana had worked for the family for nine months and had been given his salary the day before.
‘‘The boy’s father, on his way to work at about 11 am, decided to pass at the school only to be shocked with the news that they had not seen either our son or Nshimirimana that day.”
“We had not heard of any accident in the neighbourhood, so that was ruled out. We then started the search, and reported the cast to local authorities and Police, although it didn’t yield results.
‘‘In the middle of the night, the boy’s father received a message sent from a Rwandan line, by Anselme, telling us that our son was safe with them and that we would only see him again after paying them US$2000.”
“He told us that if we did not bring that money by Monday mid-morning, they would take the boy to Malawi and we will never see him again.” she added.
This prompted the mother to travel to Rwanda on Monday and lodged the case at Remera Police Station, although at this time Police had already started tracking and trailing the suspects, who had claimed to be in Kigali.
The boy’s mother supposedly agreed to their terms so that she could buy time and lure them in a Police trap.
The duo was arrested at a roadblock in Musambira en route to Kigali from Huye, with the boy.
Nshimirimana claimed that he was approached by Anselme, who worked as a carpenter in Burundi, to kidnap the child as a way of forcing the parents pay them the money they owed them.
He alleged that the couple had not paid him for the nine months that he had worked for them.
“Anselme approached me with this idea, saying that the boy’s father had also refused to pay him four million Burundian francs he owed him.
‘‘I agreed and that’s how we decided to take away their son and crossed through an illegal border into Rwanda since we had no travel documents for the child,” said Nshimirimana.
But the boy’s mother, Uwineza, however, dismissed the duo’s claims, adding that they owed no money to either of them.
According to Uwineza, they had even paid their housekeeper an extra Bfw10, 000 on top of his monthly salary of Bfw30, 000, after he approached them, saying he had an urgent issue he wanted to solve.
As for Anselme, Uwineza said they never had any deal with him and that they were even treating him as a member of the family.
Police Spokesperson Chief Supt. Celestin Twahirwa said that after the duo kidnapped the boy, they started blackmailing his parents demanding a ransom.
“Although the boy’s mother traveled to Rwanda and reported the case, Interpol Kigali had already been alerted by their counterparts of Burundi.
‘‘This was a systematically planned move by these two people to extort money from the couple,” CSP Twahirwa said.
He reminded parents to always monitor their children instead of trusting them with maids.
“This woman was able to get her son in time because they were quick to report to police, it’s always wise to be quick to report any incident for prompt and timely response.”