Monday, December 3, started as usual for Teddy Nantongo, who hawks second-hand clothes in areas of Entebbe and the neighborhood. She left her 10-year-old son, Roy Odwe, at home alone in Busambaga, Entebbe municipality, Wakiso district. However, the child went missing that same day.
“Since the school holidays started, we have been leaving him at home in the morning. Once he is done with his homework, he would go to play with a cousin who lives in the neighbourhood,” a tearful Nantongo said.
The mother said on the fateful day, she received a message from telephone number 0704510053, informing her that Odwe had been taken away.
“The number is registered in the name of Ismael Mutyaba and the owner demanded a sh2m ransom to release my son,” Nantongo said.
After alerting the Police, Nantongo and friends went to Canan Estates–Busambaga, where the kidnapper had proposed that they meet. “To prove that he was around, he sent a message describing how I was dressed. Then a certain man came and walked past me several times without saying a word. On the fourth time, policemen who had hidden in a nearby bush grabbed and whisked him away,” Nantongo said.
Nantongo’s boyfriend Edward Serubiri, who also hawks clothes, said when the suspect was taken to the nearby Police post, the kidnapper kept texting, inquiring where Nantongo was.
A source at Entebbe Police Station privy to the investigations blamed the failure of the first operation on the relatives and friends of Nantongo.
“We arrested the first suspect without anyone noticing, but when we went back the second time, some friends of the mother came following us. When we took cover, they went across the estates and grabbed a certain man of Sudanese nationality, who was seated in the doorway of his home,” the source said, adding that the Police suspect that during the commotion, the realkidnapper fled.
Onesmus Mwesigwa, the officer in charge of criminal investigations at Entebbe Police Station, declined to reveal the name of the suspect who is in custody, saying it could jeopardize the ongoing operation.
“There are several security agencies on board, and we have hopes of recovering the boy alive,” Mwesigwa said.
Another source within security circles blamed the delay in tracking the kidnappers on ‘bad machines’ of network operators, which she described as being ‘down’, hence the slow progress. Odwe is in Primary Three at Katabi Infant School in Entebbe municipality.
Nantongo and the father, only identified as Eric, divorced six years ago, before he went back to his home town of Lira. In the text messages sent to Nantongo, the kidnappers keep assuring the mother that her son is still alive. The kidnappers have not demanded anything else apart from the ransom ofsh2m