Crime & Punishment of 2013-12-28

Landlord of kidnapper questioned

The Kaneshie Police has questioned the landlord and tenants of the compound house at Darkuman in Accra where the suspect behind the recent kidnapping of children from churches lived.

The Accra Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Christian Tetteh Yohuno, told the Daily Graphic that the landlord, who lived in the same house, was invited together with the tenants to help the police in their investigations.

He said they had since been granted police enquiry bail and were required to report themselves at the Kaneshie Police Station every day.

The suspected kidnapper, Ernest Kwabena Koomson, alias Ernest Abotsi, was arrested on Sunday in connection with the kidnapping of a 10-year-old boy at the Lighthouse Chapel International at Kaneshie.

The suspect, a 27-year-old self-styled pastor, was arrested along with his accomplice, Isaac Ntie, a 19-year-old unemployed, after he had picked up the ransom for the child.

Koomson is believed to be the brain behind the recent kidnappings that hit churches in the Accra metropolis.

The police found the fourth child kidnapped from the Lighthouse Chapel International in the suspect’s room.

The police, while on an awareness creation campaign on the recent kidnappings, had information about the abduction of the son of one of the pastors of the Lighthouse Chapel International at Kaneshie and trailed the suspect and his accomplice.

Since the beginning of December 2013, four children have been kidnapped from three different churches in Accra.

Parents of the first victim of the kidnapping incident, which occured at the International Central Gospel Church at Abossey Okai, paid a Ghc2,500 ransom for the release of their 10-year-old son.

He was kidnapped on December 1, 2013 and his parents paid the ransom without involving the police.

In the second instance, which happened on December 8, 2013, the kidnappers demanded Ghc3,000 for the release of a nine-year-old girl who was abducted from the North Kaneshie branch of the Winners Chapel International.

A week later, another 10-year-old boy was kidnapped at the Grace Outreach Church, and the kidnappers demanded the same amount before he was freed.

All the kidnappings took place on Sundays, and the children were intact when they were released by the kidnappers after their demands had been met.

Mr Yohuno said the suspect had been charged with kidnapping and would be put before the Accra Circuit Court today.

He urged members of the public to volunteer information that would aid the police in carrying out their duty of protecting lives and property.