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Police Arrests A 17-Year-Old Boy For Kidnapping A 5-Year-Old Boy, Demands Shs. 12m Ransom

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By Mukidi Hannington

Police in Masaka have detained a 17-year-old boy for kidnapping a five-year-old youngster and demanding a Shs 12 million ransom.

On Wednesday, Andrew Bugembe, a star student at Leos Junior Primary School in Nyendo, unexpectedly vanished from his parents’ home in Kayirikiti village, Nyendo-Mukungwe division. Andrew Nyanzi and Jalia Naggayi, his parents, reported the incident to the local authorities and the police, resulting in a joint search.

On Thursday, the parents received an anonymous phone call from a stranger threatening to kill their kid and bury his body in a location where his body would be difficult to recover unless they paid him Shs 12 million in cash.

The family offered to pay in two installments, but the kidnapper insisted on receiving the entire sum at once. On Friday, Nyanzi and Naggayi received another call, this time from the kidnapper, who demanded Shs 30,000 in upkeep for the boy, which they accepted to and quickly gave the money, but only after requesting that he put the boy online to confirm his survival.

During a brief conversation, the youngster stated that he was with Joac[him] before the captor abruptly turned off the phone. The name ‘Joac’ led them to believe he was a youngster who used to work at their poultry farm before being fired for alleged stealing.

The kid, known to them as Joachim Tumwebaze, was furious with his boss’ choice at the time and threatened to retaliate in any manner he could, but the boy’s parents ignored his threats. They intensified their search after receiving this information, and Tumwebaze was discovered at a mobile money shop in Kisuuna village, where he had gone to withdraw money that had been sent to him.

Tumwebaze was pursued by flying squad detectives up to his home, where they discovered him and reunited him with his parents. They were fortunate, according to Nyanzi, because his son remembered his kidnapper’s name.

Tumwebaze had stolen a phone from an elderly woman to utilize for his ransom operations, according to Twahiri Kiruuta, chairman of Kisuuna LC I. He had also told his mother that Bugembe was a friend’s son who had gone overseas and that he had requested him to look after him till he returned.

Tumwebaze has been detained at Nyendo police station pending investigations, according to Southern Regional Police spokesperson Muhammad Nsubuga. Tumwebaze had an easy time luring the youngster since he knew him, he said. He explains that he will be charged with kidnapping and will be brought to court once his file is complete.

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