Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
Kidnapping two toddlers in church with the intention of making money out of them in South Africa has landed a Chitungwiza woman in prison after she was intercepted at a local bus terminus. Jane Ngwerume (18) abducted the two minors from church while congregants were immersed in prayer. She ran out of luck when some congregants who were now looking for the missing children spotted them while boarding a bus out of the satellite town.
Ngwerume recently appeared before Chitungwiza magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo facing two counts of kidnapping or alternatively unlawful detention.
She pleaded guilty to the charges and both counts were treated as one for the purposes of sentence.
Mr Mapfumo slapped her with five years’ imprisonment of which one year was suspended for five years on condition she did not within that period commit any offence of a similar nature for which, if convicted, she would be jailed without the option of a fine.
When asked by Mr Mapfumo why she stole the children, Ngwerume said she had been sent by a man only identified as Tinashe who lives in Mufakose.
She said Tinashe had told her there were businesspeople in South Africa who wanted toddlers for ritual purposes.
She further told the court that it was Tinashe who was going to take the children to South Africa and would be given her share of the proceeds.
According to the State case, on April 2 this year at around 10am, Jennifer Chakadya and Tandadzai Chindindi went to Publicity Hall in Zengeza 4 for their traditional Sunday church service.
Chakadya was accompanied by her three-year-old son, while Chindindi was with her daughter, also aged three.
Ngwerume attended the service although she was not a member of the church in question.
The children were playing while the rest of the congregation was immersed in prayer.
Ngwerume was closely monitoring the two toddlers movements while sitting next to them.
On noticing that the worshippers were deeply engrossed in prayer, she lured the children outside.
She then kidnapped them and left the church premises.
It was only after the prayer session that Chakadya and Chindindi discovered that their children were missing.
They went around the church looking for them, but failed to locate them.
The two women then alerted other church members and they rushed to the police station to make a report.
On their way to the police station, the congregants spotted Ngwerume in the company of the two toddlers before she could board a commuter omnibus.
When Ngwerume saw many people running towards her, she tried to escape with the kids, but was apprehended.
She was taken to the police and was detained.