The Acting Inspector General of Police, (IGP), James Oppong-Boanuh says the four, (4), missing Takoradi girls who have been confirmed dead were murdered by a serial killing syndicate.
According to him, the serial killing syndicate which operated in the Western Region had majority of its members as Nigerians.
“Investigations now establish that the girls were victims of a serial kidnapping and murdering syndicate that operated in the Takoradi area.”
”While for various reasons we were unsuccessful in obtaining and acting on accurate actionable intelligence, in good time, to enable us rescue the girls, we believe that the arrest of the culprits has effectively thwarted the ability of this syndicate to have continued with further kidnappings and murders”.
That’s according to the Acting IGP during a press conference on Monday, September 16, 2019, in Accra.
Below is the IGPs full statement below:
A few minutes ago, officers of the Ghana Police Service informed four (4) families in Takoradi in the Western Region of Ghana that DNA tests conducted on some human remains discovered in the course of Police investigations into the disappearance of four (4) missing girls have.
The Ghana Police Service has, with regret, therefore informed the families that the remains are those of Ruth Abaka, Priscilla Blessing Bentum, Ruth Love Quayson, and Priscilla Kuranchie.
Investigations now establish that the girls were victims of a serial kidnapping and murdering syndicate that operated in the Takoradi area.
While for various reasons we were unsuccessful in obtaining and acting on accurate actionable intelligence, in good time, to enable us rescue the girls, we believe that the arrest of the culprits has effectively thwarted the ability of this syndicate to have continued with further kidnappings and murders.
Miss Abeka went missing on 29th July 2018. The second victim, Ms. Priscilla Bentum went missing on 15th August 2018.
On 4th December 2018, Ms. Ruth Love Quayson, the third girl, was reported missing.
The disappearance of the fourth victim, Ms. Priscilla Mantebea Kurankye was reported to the Police on 21st December 2018.
On 22nd December 2018, one day after the disappearance of Mantebea, the Police was able to track the number through which a ransom money had been paid. This led to the arrest of suspect Samuel Uduatuk Wills to assist with the investigation.
Samuel Wills later escaped from Police custody on 30th December 2018 but was re-arrested three days later in an uncompleted building at Nkroful, a suburb of Takoradi.
He was convicted for escaping from lawful custody and brought to the CID headquarters whereupon interrogation he admitted that he, together with suspects John Orji and John Chika, kidnapped the young girls and sent them by road to a location in Nigeria known as “Baby Factory” in Anambra State in Nigeria.
He, however, denied knowledge of the whereabouts of Ruth Abeka.
The evaluation of this confession and other intelligence reports from Nigeria on the location and modus operandi of this ‘baby factory’ in Nigeria culminated in an assessment by the investigating team at this stage that they had a fair idea of the location of the girls and that it would be possible to bring them home.
Between April and July 2019, several surveillance operations were mounted in Onitsa, Awka, Port Harcourt and Calabar in Nigeria.
These were locations where suspect Samuel Uduatuk Wills emphatically mentioned at different times, as places where the girls were sent and directed investigation teams to, with the hope of tracing and rescuing the girls.
Upon collaboration with other intelligence and investigative agencies across West Africa, the second suspect, John Orji, was tracked and arrested at the Aflao border on 4th June 2019.
During interrogation by the BNI in the presence of the Police, John Orji admitted to knowing Samuel but denied knowledge of any kidnapping.
John claimed that he met Samuel to collect some monies owed him after Samuel had sent him to Tamale in 2017 to bring him a money ritual box.
The two suspects were put together for questioning and while Samuel insisted that John knew where the girls were, John, on the other hand, maintained his denial of any involvement in the kidnapping of the girls.
Two officials from the Nigerian National Agency for the Protection of Trafficked Persons came to Ghana on 17th June, 2019 to assist the Police with the investigations.
They interrogated both Samuel and Orji at the CID Headquarters.
These further interrogations did not yield any new actionable information.
Efforts to locate the girls in Nigeria also yielded no results by July 31, 2019. The Nigerian leads were assessed to have grown cold and unreliable as at that date.
On 2nd August 2019, the investigation team was informed by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Person (NAPTIP) in Nigeria that the third suspect, one Chika Innoidim, had been arrested in Abuja Nigeria.
In a video interrogation of the suspects, Samuel Uduatuk Wills identified suspect Chika Innoidim John to the Police as one of his accomplices.
Suspect Chika also apparently knowing suspect Uduatuk Wills willingly spoke with him with regard to the kidnapped girls and in the process, Wills asked Chika about the whereabouts of the kidnapped victims.
In a confrontational exchange between the suspects, Uduatuk Wills insisted that it was suspect Chika and one Mama Sogoma, who came to Ghana for the girls and sent them to Nigeria and that suspect Chika knew the whereabouts of the victims. Suspect Chika denied this allegation.
The Ghana Police Service is grateful to our sister security agencies in Ghana and the sub-region for their support.