Kandy kidnap: Boy rescued in ten-hour police operation

By Shane Seneviratne

At a time when police usually draw a blank in many a crime investigation, a success story was reported from Kandy with a five-year-old boy being reunited with his parents, ten hours after a complaint was lodged that he head been kidnapped.

Esmund Mahendra

Needless to say, it brought tears of joy to the parents. But the police have not finished their work. They arrested only one of the alleged kidnappers. Three others are at large. As soon as the police were informed of the kidnap, Central Province Deputy Inspector General Pujitha Jayasundera sprang into action. He ordered the investigation unit to take all measures necessary to trace the boy, Mohamed Akram, and his kidnappers.

The team comprised Special Investigations deputy chief Esmund Mahendra Chief Inspector M. Farook and Inspector S. Yatawara among others. The only clue they had was that the kidnappers had telephoned the boy’s father who was at his rice mill in Polonnaruwa, minutes after the incident.

Akram, his mother Sithy Riswina and three other siblings were fast asleep when the kidnappers scaled the high walls of their two-storey residence at Akurana in the wee hours of November 5. According to a statement made by the suspect who is now in remand, the gang had gained access to the upstairs by climbing the wall. Through a door in the upper floor, they reached the ground floor room where the family was sleeping. They carried the sleeping boy away without disturbing him or others.

Pujitha Jayasundera

Once they took the boy out of the house, the next thing the gang had done was to telephone his father in Polonnaruwa around 4 a.m. to demand a ransom of Rs. 3.5 million. Investigations showed they had used a CDMA phone robbed from another house.

Perturbed by the call, the boy’s father phoned his brother-in-law who lived in the vicinity of his Akurana house. The brother-in-law rushed to the boy’s house and it was then that everyone came to know that Akram was missing.

They wanted to go to the police immediately, but they hesitated because the kidnappers had warned that the boy, a student of Ceylinco Sussex, would be killed if they went to the police. Plucking up some courage, the mother decided to go to the Central Province DIG’s investigation unit.

Akram: Kidnapped while sleeping

Police lost no time in getting into their investigative stride. Since the kidnappers had made a telephone call to the boy’s father, the police decided to trace the call. The kidnappers had told the boy’s father that they would contact him again to give instructions on how to deliver the money.

The special police team contacted all telecom service providers in the area and urged them to note down the area and the pone number of the kidnappers when the second call was made. Hours later, the kidnappers made the call. A CDMA telephone service provider tracked the origin of the call to a place near its Nawalapitiya tower. The kidnappers made the call to demand the money. Akram’s father told them he could only pay Rs. 1.5 million and he could deliver it the same day at a place chosen by the kidnappers.

The kidnappers told him to meet them near the Peradeniya Botanical gardens. The special investigation team laid in ambush waiting for the gang. But the kidnappers told the boy’s father and asked him to come to the Ambagamuwa mosque in Gampola.

Akram’s father went to the mosque. The police team followed him, but they took precautions to hide their identity and camouflage their movements.

When the boy’s father reached the mosque premises, a man came forward and demanded the money. At this point, the policemen pounced on him and arrested him. He told the cops that the boy and the other kidnappers were inside the mosque. But when they went inside the mosque, they only found the boy. The kidnappers had bolted.

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