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Mr Bright Appiah

Develop guidelines to deal with child kidnapping-child right international tells gov’t

A child-centred organisation, Child Rights International ( CRI), has called on the state to use the case of the four Takoradi girls to come up with reforms that will specifically spell out the guidelines on how issues of child kidnapping and child violence must be handled.

According to the organisation, the way the issue had been handled from the beginning to date had left many Ghanaians disappointed and also created doubt in the minds of the public regarding the outcome of the DNA test.

In that regard, CRI also proposed that the police give the families of the girls other alternatives to ascertain the validity of the DNA reports that sought to suggest that the human remains discovered from the pit were those of the girls.

Statement

In a statement signed and issued by the Executive Director of CRI, Mr Bright Appiah, to the Daily Graphic, the organisation said allowing the families to have access to a second DNA test would clear any doubts on their minds and the public for that matter.

“This issue has to be put to rest but in order for it to happen, the families and the public must believe the DNA report.

If the families of the girls will need to get a different expert to verify the report, give them the go-ahead to do so,” the statement said.

Background

On Monday evening, the police announced that DNA tests carried out on the human parts found in the vicinity of the suspected kidnapper’s home had confirmed that the parts were those of the four girls who went missing in Takoradi.

The acting Inspector General of Police, Mr James Oppong-Boanuh, at a press conference, confirmed the death of the missing girls: Ruth Abakah, Priscilla Kuranchie, Ruth Love Quayson and Priscilla Blessing Bentum.

This brings to a closure the over-one-year search for the missing girls.

The acting IGP also said the families of the girls had been informed by the police.

The girls had been missing since August last year.

The main suspect, a 28-year-old Nigerian, Samuel Udoetuk Willis, was arrested in the Western Region.

John Orji was arrested at the Aflao border while a third, only known as Chika, was arrested in Nigeria.

Police relationship

Following the DNA confirmation of the girls’ death, the statement said the police must use the issue to strengthen their relationship with the public, considering the fact that the public’s confidence in them had waned.

It said the gap between the police and the public, if not closed, could lead to a situation where the country’s security institutions would not be trusted.

“When this happens, it could spell doom for us all,” the statement said.

Since nobody could predict whether or not the issue could reoccur, CRI said a conscious effort needed to be put in place to revive the confidence of the public in the police.

“The Tarkoradi girls’ issue should lead to a reform which will spell out the guidelines on how the police must engage with the public in cases of kidnapping and child abuses,” it said.

Source: Graphic.com

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