Increased child trafficking in Mombasa has been linked to politicians using witchcraft to win election, a human rights lobby has warned.
In one month alone, three children have been reported missing — the latest on Monday.
Police say kidnappings and child theft are new in Mombasa.
“IN EVERY ELECTION, CASES OF KIDNAPPING OF CHILDREN AND PERSONS LIVING WITH ALBINISM RISE DRASTICALLY,” HAKI AFRICA COORDINATOR FRANCIS AUMA SAID.
Haki Africa said 28-year-old Pauline Gatwiri was tricked into giving up her two-month-old baby by a stranger, who promised to ensure the sickly child gets medical attention.
“A MORTUARY ATTENDANT AT THE COAST GENERAL HOSPITAL ALSO LOST HIS NINE-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER LAST MONTH,” HAKI AFRICA GENDER OFFICER SALMA AHMED SAID ON MONDAY.
Ahmed and Auma strongly suspect the trend could be linked to the election fever and desperate politicians.
The children could be traded to witch doctors, who harvest their organs for “rituals to cleanse politicians so they can defeat their rivals”, the rights group said.
Auma added that the kidnappings could be a form of threat to political rivals to give up. Demands for ransom have been made before in similar circumstances, he said.
“Persons living with albinism in Kwale and Kilifi are said to have started fleeing for safety as the campaigning heats up,” Auma said.