CHILD THEFT

Woman arrested at Pumwani for attempting to steal a baby

In Summary

• A middle aged woman was on Saturday night arrested for attempting to steal a baby at Pumwani Maternity Hospital

• Police say the woman is linked to a series of theft of newborn babies at the facility.

Irene Syombua after she was arrested at Pumwani for attempting to steal a baby
Irene Syombua after she was arrested at Pumwani for attempting to steal a baby
Image: COURTESY

A middle aged woman was on Saturday night arrested for attempting to steal a baby at Pumwani Maternity Hospital

Police say the woman is linked to a series of theft of newborn babies at the facility.

The woman identified as Irene Syombua was arrested on Saturday night at 9 pm while attempting to steal newborn babies.

 

Detectives who searched her car found the body of a baby wrapped in a sack hidden in the boot.

It is said she had come with a dead body for a possible swap.

She will be arraigned in court on Monday.

The lady is set to be charged in court on Monday.

This is the latest case in the facility notoriously know for child theft.

Last month, another woman was arrested for stealing a baby and carried him on a backpack.

The incident happened as the mother was processing her discharge.

In July this year, a childless nurse was arrested at the hospital for allegedly attempting to steal her friend's newborn baby.

 

Sheila Adhiambo Aluoch, who lives in Fedha estate, allegedly wanted to steal the baby of Phoebe Achieng who lives in Mukuru Kwa Njenga slums, the hospital said.

When the baby was due, Adhiambo took the friend to Puwmani Hospital on Monday when she registered her under her own name and left. 

Hospital nurses got suspicious when they called the 'mother', Shiela Adhiambo Aluoch, but she didn't answer.

Either she had forgotten she was supposed to be Sheila or she did not know she was registered under her friend's name.

Pumwani Maternity Hospital medical superintendent Leonard Okoko said Achieng’s husband came to see his wife in ward four, bed eight.

“The name he asked for [Phoebe Achieng] was not corresponding to any of the names we had in our register. This is a surprise and it looked like a well-orchestrated deal. Even a genius might not catch on,"  he said.

Okoko said the hospital immediately alerted the police who arrested the suspect.

In September last year, a security guard at Pumwani Maternity Hospital saved the day after intercepting a woman trying to steal a 3.5kg baby she had hidden in a laptop bag.

Mary Atieno tried to steal three-day-old Adrian from the Nairobi county-run facility at 5.30pm on Friday. His mother, Rebecca Kasaya, 35, had left him on a hospital bed as she went to process her discharge documents when he was abducted.

Adrian’s abductor was intercepted by a security guard when the baby started crying just as she passed through the hospital’s main entrance on the first floor.

The guard — Joseph Bitok — discovered the baby upon inspecting the laptop bag. “The baby was crying and when I asked her, she said that it was her phone that was ringing. I searched the bag and found a baby,” he said.

Atieno was whisked away by officers from Shauri Moyo police station and escaped the wrath of angry members of the public who were baying for her blood.

Days later, Governor Mike Sonko discovered 12 bodies of infants stuffed in boxes at the hospital.

The bodies were wrapped in polythene bags and packed in three boxes in a store. One box contained one body, another six and another five.

Sonko made an impromptu visit mid-morning on a boda boda, catching the management and workers unawares. He said the visit was prompted by a video clip by a resident showing people ferrying bodies from the wards.

The hospital had been plagued by baby theft, alleged negligence, poor services and mistreatment of patients for years.