KENYA. Police in Makongeni in the outskirts of Thika town have arrested a 25 year-old woman who abandoned her four-month-old baby and refused to breastfeed her unless she was paid Sh100,000 (about Ushs3.6 million) by her husband.
Faith Nyokabi was reported to have abandoned the toddler at her matrimonial home in Kiganjo estate eight days ago and pleas to have her return and take care of the child were futile as she made a demand Sh100,000.
Her husband, Charles Kirii, 36, a casual labourer in several construction sites, says he was called by a neighbor on August 1, telling him that his wife had left their infant in the house.
He rushed home and found the baby under the care of neighbours. He was informed that the baby had been abandoned immediately he left for work and had been crying endlessly.
He then attempted to reach his wife on phone but she refused to pick all his calls.
Helpless and worried, he bought a packet of milk, and with the help of estate women, fed the baby and continued to make frantic calls to his wife.
“When my wife finally took my calls, she informed me that she was okay but wasn’t coming back to me unless I gave her 100,000 shillings. I pleaded with her to come and breastfeed. That’s when she revealed that her mother had actually taken her to a local hospital and had her injected with a drug to dry out the milk,” he lamented.
Kirii explained that he reported the matter at the Thika Children’s Offices and was referred to Murang’a Children’s offices where he intended to take the infant for temporary care at his aged mother’s home.
He said that he did not have any previous quarrels with his wife but had constantly crossed paths with his mother in-law who has been making frequent financial demands.
According to the Thika Children’s Officer Lina Mwangi, the woman will be charged with child neglect and denying a child protection and care which is an offence in the children’s Act.
“I have advised the father to look for a temporary caregiver who can take care of the infant under his watch as the court makes a ruling,” she said.