Crime & Investigation

CRIME: How Rwanda Police Rescued Kidnapped 14 year-old boy

Under article 258 of the penal code, any person who kidnaps or removes a child out of the country shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of seven to ten years and a fine of Rwf500, 0 00 to Rwf5 million.

Reverend Canon Gideon Byamugisha, pharm the first African religious leader to openly declare his HIV-positive status has been diagnosed with colon cancer which requires urgent surgery and treatment.

Information from his family reveals that while the treatment can be provided in Uganda, physician it is expensive and they are unable to raise the needed funds.

The HIV/AIDS community and members of his church in a bid to collect funds for the reverends treatment opened a “gofundme” page to collect donations from anyone willing to come to the Canon’s aid..

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According to the “gofundme” page, $ 7,163 has been collected in one month.

Byamugisha in 1992 announced that he was living with HIV. He has since devoted his life to an AIDS ministry that works to end stigmatization.

In 2003 he established the Friends of Canon Gideon Foundation to end the stigma of diagnosis, encourage safe sexual practices, improve access to treatment and support orphans.

A theologian, pastor, teacher and activist, Byamugisha has transformed the HIV response of churches in the Anglican Communion and influenced many other Christian and other faith communities throughout Africa and around the world.

He has engaged with faith-based agencies including the Church of Uganda’s AIDS program, the Uganda AIDS Commission, Christian Aid, World Vision International and the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance.

Byamugisha was one of the activists who called for the withdrawal of the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda. He pushed for the rejection of the bill that would criminalize homosexuality, saying it is in violation of the freedoms set out in Uganda’s constitution.

On August 21, capsule Pierre Celestin Gatera walked into Muhoza Police station in Musanze District and filed a missing person report.

His 14-year old son François Niyonzima had gone missing – he hadn’t returned home since the previous day.

Gatera told the police that he had received calls from an anonymous person claiming that they had kidnapped his son and were asking for a ransom of Rwf1.5 million.

Police said in a statement on Tuesday morning that they mounted investigations into the matter and indeed it was established that the child was missing; next on the investigators’ agenda was to find the whereabouts of the boy and rescue him then apprehend the kidnapper.

The kidnapped child and his family hail from Ruhengeri Cell of Muhoza Sector.

“We started off by trying to understand what exactly the kidnapper was asking, then we moved to locating him. We followed the telephone number that the kidnapper used to call Gatera asking for a ransom,” Northern region Police spokesperson, Inspector of Police (IP) Elvis Munyaneza said.

He added that; “the kidnapper, identified as Osiel Nshimyumuremyi, had used several Simcards to call the boy’s father; we tracked the phone he was using and we found out that the handset belonged to A woman called Penina Uwimana.”

Uwimana and her husband Jean Claude Ndayambaje happened to be renting a house belonging to Nshimyumuremyi – the kidnapper.

Neighbours to Uwimana told the police that they had seen a man and a child at Uwimana’s house but when the police reached at the house, they only found the child; the kidnapper had fled.

In a bid to get the ransom, Nshimyumuremyi later changed tricks and called Niyonzima’s parents using a local number claiming that he was a Tanzania police officer and had found their child.

According to investigations, the kidnapper had threatened the boy that he would kill him if he tried to escape or make any noise.

“On August 30, we located the house where the boy was being held. We hastened to rescued the child who was in a worrying situation, and when officers arrived at the house, they found the boy in the house and rescued him.”

Poor feeding

According to Munyaneza, the kidnapper was at the time not at home, and that the victim was being fed on raw potatoes for the ten days.

“We trailed Nshimyumuremyi and he was arrested later when he returned home.”

Police has since reunited the boy with his family as the suspect was taken into custody.

Uwimana, however, told Police that he wasn’t aware that the boy had been kidnapped, adding that her landlord had told her that the boy was instead his nephew.

“We are still investigating to establish if there were other ill motives behind the kidnap,” said Munyaneza.

He warned that, “People should not try to make money in such dubious criminal acts. Also parents should always keep a close eye on their children at all times.”

The boy had been kidnapped in late evening hours of August 20, from the neighbourhood where he had gone to play with other children.

Munyaneza said Rwanda National Police has advanced its efforts to deal with such criminal acts, including special training for police officers, working with neighboring, regional and international police forces and organizations.

The I-24/7, an Interpol communication tool that RNP has established at all border posts for easy communication among the 192 member countries on security issues, wanted criminals and stolen goods.

Under article 258 of the penal code, any person who kidnaps or removes a child out of the country shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of seven to ten years and a fine of Rwf500, 0 00 to Rwf5 million.

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