KAMPALA, UGANDA: DNA samples from Mr Amos Betungura, a former pastor who claimed to be the father of the 17 children (suspected to be victims of human trafficking) have matched with 14 kids, police have confirmed.
The children most of whom were aged between 1-6 years were rescued from Nkoowe village, Kaliti parish in Mende sub-county in Wakiso district, as they were being transported to Mbarara district, where the former pastor hails from.
Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga in a Monday press briefing said the results from the DNA samples picked from the 17 children matched with that of Pastor Betungura, confirming him as the true biological father, adding that the other three will have their DNA tests retaken as they’re still ill.
“The other three children who are still ill will have their DNA tested so that we can determine whether they also belong to him. However, we will also seek advice on the case from the Directorate of Public Prosecution,” he said during the weekly joint security briefing at Police headquarters in Naguru, Kampala.
Enanga last week told journalists that police had arrested the pastor, along with five other suspects to help with the ongoing investigations of the suspected child trafficking after the children were found to be in a worrying health condition and congested up in the place.
The former pastor and father claimant was arrested along with Ms Nayebare Carolina and Ashaba Dina, Tusasirwe Betty, Komuhangi Junick and one other woman only identified as Loy.
According to Enanga, Betungura upon arrest told police that he had placed the children under the care of some of his relatives after he ran into marital problems and additional challenges from his pastoral work which hampered him from being able to take care of them.
“During the interrogation, the suspect admitted that due to marital problems and additional challenges from his pastoral work, after his church was closed during the first COVID lockdown, he decided to place his children under the care of some of his relatives, after failing to provide for them in terms of feeding, school, medication and clothing among others,” Enanga said last week.
He added that police recovered additional exhibits of broken sticks, burnt plastics, clothes and beddings from the rented premises at Nkoowe village where the children were rescued from.
The pastor according to police faces charges of negligence and failure to provide basic necessities to mothers and his children if found to be the true biological father, while he will be slapped with the charge of giving false information and obstructing justice if the DNA samples do not match.
“If we establish that he gave false and misleading information to the police to protect himself or someone else, we shall charge him, with giving false information and obstruction of justice. But if it is established that he is truly the biological father, to the 17 children, we shall charge him with failure to provide basic necessities to his children and their mothers,” Enanga explained a week ago.
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