By Thomas Tumwebaze
The Police in Kagadi district are holding Moses Kataremwa, 21, a resident of Kyaterekera B cell in Kyeterekera town council over allegations of kidnapping a seven-year-old boy and asking for a ransom of sh9.5m.
It is alleged that Kataremwa kidnapped the child from his home in Kyaterekera Town Council in the wee hours of Monday, July 4 and hid him in an ant hill in the same village for three days.
Kataremwa allegedly kept demanding the ransom, using phone messages and recorded voices on flash disks, to aid the release of the child until the third day when the boy’s father, Moses Tumwebaze, sent the ransom via mobile money to the suspect.
“I used to leave the child in the anthill and then I would go to town to buy food. I made sure that the hole had oxygen inlets and that’s why I installed pipes to let in oxygen so that the child does not suffocate,” Kataremwa narrated.
“I used one day to excavate the hole and also one day to install the pipes for oxygen and the top cover. On the third day, I brought the child who was my target,” Kataremwa told the Police.
Father narrates ordeal
Tumwebaze, who is a prominent businessman in Kyaterekera town council, said he received a phone call from home about the disappearance of his son when he was at work, but he took the issue lightly until he reached home at 7:00pm that it dawned on him that indeed, the child was missing.
Tumwebaze added that after paying the sh9.5m ransom via mobile money, the kidnapper demanded an extra sh10m, but was arrested shortly after.
RESIDENTS SPEAK OUT
Several residents, who swung into action to search for the child, said their efforts were futile until they started getting information via Sim card tracking systems and found out that the act was being perpetrated by their own resident.
Why the kidnap?
Kataremwa said he wanted money to fund his ‘kyeyo’ trip abroad and that kidnapping a child was a quick way out to raise the required money.
Kataremwa, who led the district security team to the anthill where he was hiding the child for three days, said this is his first time to engage in kidnap. He pleaded guilty.
However, he asked for forgiveness from security and the family of the child he had abducted.
“I don’t know the devil that tempted me to do this, but this is my first and last time to do this. I beg you to forgive me,” Kataremwa pleaded.
It is said after receiving the sh9.5m, he withdrew it in two instalments and went to Entebbe to process the documents to fulfil his earlier mission.
Kataremwa also told detectives that by the time of his arrest, he was processing his national identity card so that he could process the passport and visa.
He also said all the sh9.5m had been spent.
Police speak out
Moses Muzima Kiconco, the Kagadi district Police commander, said in co-operation with other sister agencies such as the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, they arrested Kataremwa in Kampala city.
Kataremwa is currently detained at Kagadi Central Police Station pending investigations.