Police in Arua City have arrested a suspected human trafficker and rescued over 40 children.
The suspect identified as Sabiri Siraji, 27, from Zombo district and a resident of Kawanda in Wakiso district was picked up from Arua Hotel in Arua City on Wednesday 1st February as he was preparing to transport the children to Kampala.
According to Alice Akello, the Arua Resident City Commissioner, the children aged between 5 and 16 years were rescued from Continental hotel in Arua City where the suspect had been keeping them for almost a week.
Akello stated that the children were recruited from different parents across West Nile allegedly to be enrolled to Al-Rahman Islamic primary and secondary school in Bombo, Luwero district.
“We got a tip that there were children being kept in Continental hotel yesterday at around 2:00 O’clock. I took the initiative to go and find out who these children are. When I found very young children, I got concerned and with the ADF threat, I thought I should look for who is behind this recruitment,” Akello said.
However, before Siraji’s arrest, security operatives liaised with their counterparts in Bombo and Wakiso district, and established that the said school doesn’t exist at all.
“We were told that a bus was coming to take the children to Bombo to a school called Al-Rahman Islamic primary and secondary school. So, immediately I got my intelligence to connect with the intelligence of Bombo to find out where this school is in Bombo if it really exists. Up to 11:00pm in the night, they didn’t find this school in the entire Bombo,” she added.
Akello after confirming that the school doesn’t exist, called the police crime intelligence officer and ordered him to have the suspect arrested.
Police have also arrested Siraii’s girlfriend, who had earlier lied to being in Saudi Arabia but was found was in Arua City at the hotel.
Siraji was arrested last year with children he intended to traffic from Yumbe district .
Akello cautioned parents and the community at large to stop trusting their children into the hands of unknown people.