Top suspected human trafficker nabbed in Arua, over 40 children rescued




  February 1, 2023

ARUA. The security team in Arua City led by Dr. Alice Akello, the RCC have arrested a top suspected human trafficker and rescued over 40 children from his possession.

Sabiri Siraji, 27, An Alur from Zombo district and a resident of Kawanda in Wakiso district was picked up from Arua Hotel in Arua City on Wednesday as he was preparing to transport the children to Kampala.

However, the children aged between 5 and 16 years were rescued from Continental hotel in Arua City where the suspect had been keeping them for almost a week.

The starved children were recruited from different parents across West Nile allegedly to be enrolled to Al-Rahman Islamic primary and secondary school in Bombo, Luwero district.

But before Siraji’s arrest, security operatives liaised with their counterparts in Bombo and Wakiso district, and established that the said school doesn’t exist at all.

“We got a tip that there were children being kept in Continental hotel yesterday at around 2:00 O’clock. I took the initiative to go and find out who these children are. When I found very young children, I got concerned and with the ADF threat, I thought I should look for who is behind this recruitment,” Dr. Akello told journalists shortly after Siraji’s arrest.

“We were told that a bus was coming to take the children to Bombo to a school called Al-Rahman Islamic primary and secondary school. So, immediately I got my intelligence to connect with the intelligence of Bombo to find out where this school is in Bombo if it really exists. Up to 11:00pm in the night, they didn’t find this school in the entire Bombo,” Akello added.

The RCC said after confirming that the school doesn’t exist, she called the police crime intelligence officer and ordered him to have the suspect arrested.

“We asked him the school where he is taking the children, he doesn’t know the name of the school. I told him to write for me the address, the name of the school, where it is and he doesn’t know. At first, he pretended he didn’t speak English and the lady whom we have just arrested, yesterday we were told that she is in Saudi Arabia yet she was in Arua City here. She is his girlfriend but while at the hotel, he told us that she is his sister,” Akello stressed.

Akello cautioned parents and the community at large to stop trusting their children into the hands of unknown people.

“The other day a 12-year-old child was with ADF in Ntoroko district and the parents happened to be coming from Arua. So, let us learn lessons, parents should not give their children to people they don’t know. You have seen very young children. How can you surrender your young child of 5 years to a foreigner to take to Kampala?” Akello asked.

Khemis Muzaid, the Arua Central Division Mayor who also participated in the operation said the suspect is one gentleman that is causing them problems in the West Nile region.

He said last year, the same Siraji was arrested with very many children from Yumbe.

“They intercepted him in Maracha, that is what I am aware of. From there, we don’t know how he got a police bond and you know the incidents that happened viral about the ADF. Today the same gentleman has been arrested with over 50 children. We may not be sure of him, it will be the security that will dig most of the information from him,” Muzaid said.

“The rest of the work will be done by security to see that sanity is brought to West Nile so that we don’t have bad names for recruiting ADF from here. I was shedding tears when I saw children of 5 years, 10 years being shown viral carrying guns and saying that I’m from Tanganyika and Tanganyika is from Central Division of Arua City, that we are from Yumbe, you saw the incidents that happened. So, we are not going to sleep and we are really going to request the security to investigate this guy properly,” Muzaid said.

Malon Avutia, the Ayivu Division Mayor wondered how such suspects keep coming out of police custody every time they are arrested.

He, however, invited all people who have cases against the suspect to come up and record their statements at Arua CPS and follow the matter up to court.


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