The Western Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Mr Redeemer Dedjoe, has given an assurance that the police will do everything possible to rescue the three females who have been kidnapped in Takoradi.
He said search operations had been intensified and that various means, including the use of the International Police (INTERPOL), had been activated to reunite the abductees with their families.
He, therefore, asked the grieving parents to exercise patience as the police continued with their search and investigations to bring the abductees back alive.
Updating the media in Takoradi yesterday on investigations into the case, the regional commander said the path to liberation could be a gradual process but what mattered most was to rescue the girls.
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The news briefing came on the back of intense pressure mounted on the police to bring the victims back alive and also get to the bottom of the matter by arresting the perpetrators of the act.
Some residents of the Twin City have already taken to the streets to express their disappointment at the way the police were handling the case.
The three abducted persons are Priscilla Blessing Bentum, 21, a third-year student of the University of Education, Winneba, who was abducted at Kansaworado on August 17, 2018; Ruth Love Quayson, 18, a senior high school (SHS) graduate who was kidnapped at the Butumegyabu Junction, popularly known as BU Junction, on December 4, 2018, and Priscilla Mantebea Koranchie, 15, a student of the Sekondi College (SEKCO) who was kidnapped near the Nkroful Junction in Takoradi on December, 21, 2018 after she had been promised a mobile phone by his abductor.
A Nigerian, Samuel Udoetuk Wills, 28, suspected to be a member of a syndicate involved in the act, was arrested in an uncompleted building at Kansaworodo, a suburb of Sekondi-Takoradi, but be escaped from his cell on December 30, 2018 under circumstances that further hurt the already traumatised parents of the abductees and members of the public.
The suspect was re-arrested after the Western Regional Police Command, in line with police procedures, had ordered the policemen who were on duty on the day of the escape to produce the escapee within 10 days.
DCOP Dedjoe said the police had established that the suspect was an ex-convict in his home country and, “therefore, we have triggered further search through Interpol to know who we are dealing with”.
The regional commander said the kidnappers, who made phone calls to the parents of their victims, demanded ransoms for their release.
He said although the family of the first victim, Ms Bentum, had paid GH¢4,500, their daughter still remained in captivity.
In the case of Ms Quayson, the regional commander said her parents paid a ransom of GH¢1,300 to the captors before they (parents) made a report to the police, yet she had not been released.
For the third victim, Priscilla, the kidnappers managed to get a ransom of ¢1,000 from her family but they did not release the girl.
DCOP Dedjoe said in all the cases, the kidnapper struck acquaintances with the victims for a long period.
“The kidnapper contacted the victims numerous times through mobile phone communication. He promised the first and the second victims jobs, while he promised the third victim a mobile phone. As a result, the suspect was able to get them without the conventional kidnapping approach of the kidnapper walking the victim at gunpoint into a moving vehicle,” the regional police boss said.
The suspect, he said, had earlier made mention of four persons alleged to be involved in kidnapping the three females.
He stated that acting on the information, the police had made strenuous efforts to arrest the other suspects from their hideout, which had proved unsuccessful.
“However, we are still vigorously searching for the kidnapped girls and we will not give up,” he said.
The regional commander cautioned the public, especially young ladies, to beware of persons with whom they struck acquaintance, as kidnappers were not using the conventional radical form of kidnapping by forcibly taking their victims hostage for ransom.
The kidnappers, he explained, struck acquaintance on mobile phone and social media platforms and win the confidence of the victims, sometimes with promises of jobs and goodies, hence making victims willingly walk into their trap.
He urged parents to monitor what their young children were doing and their movements.
In the era of democratic policing, DCOP Dedjoe said, members of the public were very important in solving the puzzle.
“I, therefore, urge members of the public to come forward with credible information leading to the rescue of the victims,” he added.
Takoradi, he said, remained a very safe place for the public and appealed to the parents of the victims to stay calm as the police worked relentlessly around the clock to rescue the victims alive.