Kenyan police arrest girl for allegedly trying to steal day-old baby

A girl of 12 has been arrested for allegedly trying to steal a day-old baby from a hospital maternity ward for cash, Kenyan police said Friday.

A woman offered to pay the girl US$140 (Ђ106) to take the baby boy, police said. During questioning, the girl said she had no idea why the woman wanted the baby, police said.

"We will continue to hold the girl in our custody until we establish the circumstances surrounding this case," said senior police officer, Samson Macharia.

Police were searching for the woman, and both she and the girl could face charges.

The father of the newborn said he became suspicious when he saw the girl loitering around the maternity wing of the Naivasha hospital, 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of the capital, Nairobi.

"I started sensing something was amiss after a girl I did not know started inquiring about our newly born boy," Jackson Ngicha said.

The hospital said they would increase security after the incident.

"The girl was found in the nursery trying to carry a baby and we took action before she accomplished her mission," said Dr. Peter Okoth, who heads the hospital.

Allegations have surfaced in Kenya in recent years that babies were being stolen as part of a suspected international child trafficking ring. Several woman are facing trial for allegedly stealing babies, reports AP.

In 2004 the Kenyan government formed a task force to investigate claims that for years babies were stolen from the biggest maternity hospital in the country, Nairobi's Pumwani Maternity Hospital, while parents were told their newborns had died.

However, the government said it found no evidence to back up those claims.

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