Ugandan man fakes own kidnap, gets Shs 3 million ransom from wife

Uganda police warns parents on new tricks used by child kidnappers
Kampala police spokesperson Patrick Onyango

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Police have vowed to find and arrest a man who duped his wife with self-kidnap and led her into debt, after she borrowed money to secure his release from alleged kidnappers.

It turns out he was behind the whole kidnap plot, but attempts by police to get a statement from him have been thwarted by his wife, who now fears her ‘rescued’ husband will be arrested for his crime.

The man who lives with his wife in Kawempe faked his own kidnap and successfully got Shs 3 million [approx. $818.87] from his wife who thought he was in danger of being killed by kidnappers.

Only identified as Mark, the man in his mid-30s disappeared from his wife’s home in Kawempe 11 parish last week at around 9pm. While leaving the house, Mark told the wife who has been identified as Salome that he was going to buy airtime from a Payway machine.

When it was about midnight, Salome became concerned. She called his telephone lines but they were all off. She spent the night trying to reach him but all was in vain. In the morning, she filled a case of disappearance at police.

Minutes after she had open a case with police, she received a call from her husband using one of his known telephone lines. Salome said her husband sounded scared and seemingly under duress. He informed her that he had been kidnapped.

Salome updated police after she received the call, reporting that he had told her that the kidnappers wanted Shs 3 million, and would kill him if she failed to send them the money.

Patrick Onyango, the Kampala metropolitan police spokesperson, said Kawempe police decided to hunt for the alleged kidnappers. All the footage captured by Closed Circuit Television [CCTV] cameras in the area was retrieved hoping to see Mark’s abductors.

Onyango adds that police warned the woman not to succumb to kidnappers’ ransom demands. She was tasked to keep updating police every time she received a call. Salome updated police when she received a call from the kidnappers in addition to noting down the time of every call.

Nevertheless, Salome did not heed to police’s advice of not sending money to kidnappers. She rushed and borrowed money from one of her close friends. She topped up on what she already had and sent it on her husband’s phone.

In less than two hours, Mark resurfaced claiming he had been dumped on the roadside in the same area of residence. The next day Salome informed police that her husband had come back unhurt.

“We asked her to tell him to come and record a statement. She did not bring the husband and she never came back. We checked with our intelligence network and reviewed our CCTVs in the area and there was not any group captured grabbing a person on that night. We are sure it was a self-kidnap,” Onyango said.

When police became suspicious about the kidnap and ransom narrative, investigators decided to visit the home in order to have an interview with the alleged victim. However, Mark escaped minutes before police arrived.

The wife, according to one of the detectives at Kawempe, has since received information from her husband’s friends that he was actually having money related issues. It is alleged he was living in one of the relative’s home within their home’s vicinity.

“The wife has since learnt that he was actually duped by her husband. But she has decided not to cooperative with police because she knows her husband will be arrested and prosecuted,” a detective said.

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Onyango said police won’t close the case file until the victim now turned suspect is arrested to answer charges of self-kidnap and obtaining money by false pretense.

A year ago, Bruno Tayebwa, a resident of Kabalagala, was arrested after faking his own kidnap and demanding sh10 million ransom from his wife.

Tayebwa called his wife Evas Ainomugisha claiming he had been kidnapped by four people travelling in a saloon car. Police’s Flying Squad Unit [FSU] tracked and arrested him from Jinja where he was hiding.