Police in Bostwana are on the hunt for a Zimbabwean man who allegedly kidnapped his two-year-old-daughter and is suspected to have sold the toddler to human traffickers.
According to media reports in the neighbouring country, the 34-year-old Nelson Mangena has been on the run since October last year after “stealing” the child from its mother Ms Oratile Morris, with whom he had separated.
Botswana’s Central Police Station commander Lebalang Maniki was last week reported confirming that a warrant for Mangena’s arrest had been issued on suspicion of child trafficking.
“The case was reported at our office sometimes in November last year that a man, we suspect to be of Zimbabwean descent, disappeared with a baby girl.
“We are appealing to the public to help bring back the baby or help us catch Mangena,” Commander Maniki was quoted.
Mangena is suspected to have fled to South Africa where he is working.
Ms Morris told The Voice newspaper that she had sought the help of a prophet from Borolong village who told her that her baby was in Zimbabwe.
She told the publication that a friend of Mangena had revealed that the accused had taken the child to Zimbabwe to live with his mother, confirming the “prophecy.”
Ms Morris chronicled how her estranged lover, Mangena, on 25 October last year innocently asked if he could look after the infant for a week, before disappearing into thin air.
“It was not his first time asking for the baby but he always took less than a week and brought her back.
“On the following day I called asking to speak to our daughter but Nelson said she was sleeping.
“I took it lightly but two weeks passed and he kept coming up with excuses whenever I phoned to talk to the baby,” she said.
Ms Morris said she began to sense something was wrong when Mangena stopped answering his phone.
“I kept trying it for the whole day until he finally answered. I got angry with him, telling him to bring back my daughter. He replied that my baby was in Gaborone with his aunt, who is barren and likes kids,” she said.
Ms Morris said the number Mangena gave her ostensibly as his aunt’s turned out to be false as it was not reachable each time she tried calling.
Mangena is said to have returned to work on 29 October without the baby, and his bosses alerted Ms Morris who immediately contacted the police, but by the time the police reacted, Mangena had disappeared again. The police are reported to have come close to apprehending Mangena in January this year, after getting tip off that he was hiding in Tonota, a village in the Central District of Botswana.
Mangena, who was in the company of two unidentified friends when police pounced, is said to have swiftly escaped before he could be apprehended.
Ms Morris further revealed that Mangena was a violent person who used beat and threatened to kill her during their time together.