A Ugandan man posing as a Christian leader lured 40 children to a hotel where he planned on trafficking them to a neighbouring African country.
Police in Uganda have arrested and charged two people so far with the kidnapping of 40 Christian children lured by a Muslim posing as the leader of a Christian charity offering free education, according to news sources.
In Aura in northwest Uganda, after an investigation they found out a 27-year-old Muslim man by the name of Siraji Sabiri had lured 40 Christian school-age children to a hotel promising them school scholarships on February 2.
Sabiri was allegedly looking to put the children on a bus and sell them to a rebel militant group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A pastor in Aura whose name will remain anonymous for security reasons found out about the alleged scam through his congregation.
"Parents made use of the opportunity to register for the offer of such scholarships," says the pastor. "On Feb. 2, an elder of mine informed me of many children from the church in a Continental Hotel in Arua town in West Nile Sub-Region. I got concerned and rang the police to check on the children, because I was not involved in the whole process."
Police officers took the call seriously and immediately went to the hotel to investigate. They found 40 children between the ages of five and 16.
"The man had disguised himself as a Christian, hence he was able to register over 40 children in the name of offering them bursaries, yet with the intention of selling them to the ADF [Allied Democratic Forces] in Congo," the pastor told Morning Star News.
Alice Akello was on the scene as she is a city commissioner of Arua in charge of all government forces in the district.
"At first Sabiri said he was taking the children to Al-Rahman Islamic Primary and Secondary School in Bombo, Luwero District," says Akello. "After a lengthy interrogation, it was discovered that there was no school of such a name existing."
Akello then ordered the arrest of Sabiri and rescued the 40 children, returning them to their parents.
Salima Geriya, a 28-year-old Muslim woman was also arrested in connection to the kidnapping of the children. Geriya was remanded to jail along with Sabiri.
"I appeal to the whole body of Christ in Uganda to be vigilant towards strangers who come in the name of helping children," says the anonymous pastor. "We thank God for rescuing our children."