Police has arrested two women believed to be part of a group that has been stealing babies from Masaka Regional Referral Hospital.
The women have been identified as Betty Namata and Viola Nasaazi. The women are residents of Kisuuna in Katwe-Butego Division.
Police arrested the women following the attempted theft of Justine Namutebi’s day old baby from Masaka hospital.
The Lukaya resident nearly lost her baby on Wednesday. Namutebi had briefly left her hospital bed to get a meal when her baby disappeared. Her attendant was away washing their clothes.
Namutebi raised an alarm bringing other patients, nurses and hospital security to her bedside. Masaka hospital security immediately started investigating the matter.
John Mwaule, the Masaka district Police commander, says alert motorcycle riders (boda bodas) outside the hospital gate tipped security on the suspicious movements of a woman.
The woman Betty Namata was found waiting for a taxi near Shell Buddu opposite Masaka Central Police with the stolen baby. She tried to flee when she noticed police closing in.
Mwaule says a woman thought to be her accomplice Viola Nasaazi shortly afterwards. She was found wandering within Masaka hospital maternity ward yet she was not a patient or attendant.
Nasaazi and Namata had already aroused new mother Mayimuuna Namugumya’s suspicions in the manner in which they claimed to be patient attendants for hire in the hospital.
Namugumya later saw Namata carrying a baby who turned out to be Namutebi’s stolen child.
Since this year begun, at least six babies have been stolen but later recovered, according to information from Masaka Hospital.
Dr. Florence Tugumisirize, the Masaka Hospital Director, says the hospital has now come up with stringent measures to curb baby theft. She says that the hospital has introduced permits for patients, their helpers and visitors.
Dr. Tugumisirize says the thieves are taking advantage of congestion within the hospital to gain access.
Dr. Tugumisirize also says the hospital has deployed special team to investigate allegations that some health workers could be conniving with thieves to steal babies.
However, Viola Nassazi, one of the suspects has denied involvement. She claims she was waiting for medication at the time of arrest.
But Betty Namata has admitted to stealing the baby. She told Police after her arrest that she had lied to her husband that she was pregnant yet she is barren. She says to stole the baby in order to save her marriage.
Frank Ntankovu, the Criminal Investigations Officer at Masaka Central Police says the suspects will be charged with child stealing.