Mbeya. A family in Mbeya was thrown into mourning after the body of their missing child was recovered in a thicket on Sunday.
Police said yesterday an ex-murder convict who left jail in February this year was arrested for questioning over the murder of the eight-year-old boy over a failed Sh10 million ransom demand.
Mbeya Regional Police Commander Ulrich Matei said the suspect was arrested in Ipogolo area in Iringa following the tracking of his number that had been used to demand ransom from the family. Mr Matei said the suspect confessed to the murder and led the police to the Mlima wa Nyoka thicket where the body of the Standard Yhree pupil was recovered.
According to the father of the deceased, Mr Bakari Siame, their child failed to return home on April 9 after attending tuition. A search for him was futile until a neighbour broke the news of a ransom demand by a suspect who had been in touch with him. “Our neighbour, dealing in repairing refrigerators, told us he had been receiving calls from someone reporting to have the child with him and was demanding Sh10 million ransom to release him,” said Mr Siame. He said that the family did not have the money being demanded and reported the matter to police as soon as they learnt of the disappearance.
During questioning by the police, the suspect (name withheld), admitted to have abducted the child for ransom after learning that his parents were selling a family car. Mr Matei said he learnt the information after striking a conversation with the child.
“He lured the boy away pretending to look for buyers of their car,” said Mr Matei.
The police said the suspect recorded a mobile phone number of the refrigerator dealer from a board at his workshop close to the victim’s home.
“This is the number he used to communicate with refrigerator repairer and then the child’s parents,” the police boss noted.
He said the suspect left with the child to Nsalaga area and later into a a maize plantation after he started crying and shouting for help. According to the suspect, the boy started crying after he heard his threat to kill him if he did not get the money. He suffocated him as he tried to block him from shouting.
The suspect, according to police, told them he had picked the kidnap plot through stories told by fellow inmates while serving his sentence at Butimba prison in Mwanza. He was jailed for 30 years for murder, but was acquitted after a successful appeal. The suspect will appear in court once investigations are completed.
Mbeya Regional Commissioner Albert Chalamila urged parents and guardians to teach their children to avoid strangers.