A 23-year old woman has been arrested in Mageragere Sector of Nyarugenge District for allegedly breaking into a neighbour’s house at night to steal a two-year old baby.
The incident happened at about 3am on Saturday.
The baby belonged to one Charlotte Mukarukundo said to have been asleep at the time of the incident.
Mukarukundo, a single mother, and the suspect were previously housemates.
However, it is said that recently, the suspect took Mukarukundo to a traditional healer in Kagarama in Kicukiro District to treat the infant of a tooth disease locally known as ibyinyo.
Mukarukundo, however, couldn’t afford the traditional healer’s financial demands, and off she returned home. The suspect never returned home.
From deep slumber, Mukarukundo woke up to realise the baby was missing.
All Mukarukundo could do was to make an alarm, which woke up neighboring families, they alerted the police and jointly started the search.
“After about six hours of search, Police and the residents found the suspect hiding in an old house in Nyarurenzi Cell in Mageragere with the baby,” Supt. Emmanuel Hitayezu, the Police spokesperson for the City of Kigali, said.
“She found herself in between different groups that joined police in the search, and she hid in the abandoned old house,” he added, crediting the role of public partnership and neighbourhood watch.
“This is criminal act of abduction as stated in article 224 of the penal code. Police is still investigating the main motive of abduction to make a conclusive case file to be forwarded to prosecution for further legal proceedings,” the spokesperson said.
Supt. Hitayezu also advised parents to always take their children to health centres or hospitals rather than believing in myths of traditional healers, which can be dangerous to children.
Believed to cure a tooth disease known as ibyinyo, traditional healers and parents have been subjecting their young children to this dangerous procedure.
Medics say ibyinyo is the natural teething stage that all babies go through, beginning at around six months of age.
While teething in babies causes mouth pain, fevers, and sometimes even vomiting or diarrhea, prematurely extracting the teeth is not a cure, according to health experts, and can cause serious permanent damage to the child.