A four-year-old girl identified as Precious Michael has been rescued by the Ondo State Police Command from a bush where she had been caged by her foster mother, Mary Michael, for five good months because her mother died of suspected Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection in December 2015.
According to the report, the 28-year-old woman, Mary, who was arrested by the police had allegedly locked the toddler in a kiosk inside a bush in Imafon village in the Akure-South Local Government Area of the state before a tip-off by a concerned resident of the area to the police, led to her rescue.
In justifying her action, Mary, a relation of Precious late mother, said she had to quarantine the young victim because she suspected that the girl had witchcraft and was infected with the HIV that killed her mother.
While parading the suspect at the Command Headquarters in Akure, the state capital, the Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Hilda Ibifuro-Harrison, said the suspect was arrested following a tip-off.
“Mary and her husband, who alleged that the girl was possessed, decided to lock her outside the house. On receipt of the information, the personnel attached to the Juvenile Welfare Centre of the police command visited the scene and met the girl in the cage as reported.
She (Precious) was immediately rescued and taken to the police clinic for medical attention, while the suspects are under interrogation and will soon be charged to court.”
According to a senior police officer who led the team that rescued the victim, ASP Olayemi Ojumu, the girl was taken for a test and she tested negative for HIV.
“When we got to the village, we saw the girl with a swollen body. She was holding a loaf of bread. She had defecated on her body inside the cage where she was kept in the bush.
They didn’t allow her to come out to live with them. They gave her food and water inside the cage.
When we asked Mary about the condition of the girl, she told us that Precious’ mother died of HIV in Enugu State and she discovered that she (Precious) had been infected with HIV by her deceased mother.
She said she did not want Precious to infect her own children and that was why she kept her in the cage.
But when we took her for a test, the result came out negative.”
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