A Congolese woman suspected child kidnapper was arrested on Thursday and is being held in Bukavu in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where a girl was found dead and mutilated, local officials said.
Aged about 30, "Ombeni Malekera, who is not on her first crime, has kidnapped two children (a three-year-old boy and his five-year-old sister) from the same family since Tuesday, August 1", Patience Bengehya, mayor of the commune of Bagira in Bukavu, capital of the province of South Kivu, told AFP.
"The body of the five-year-old girl was found on Wednesday at the edge of a river, amputated of her sex and her tongue," he said.
The discovery of the body sparked an uprising among residents. The searches that have been launched have made it possible to find the three-year-old boy who was "drugged" in the home of Ombeni Malekera, said the mayor of Bagira, a popular commune.
"The angry population wanted revenge but the law enforcement officers intervened, the lady was taken to the Bukavu prosecutor's office (...), her trial in the act will begin shortly", indicated Mr Bengehya.
The alleged kidnapper's husband was also arrested and is being held in a police station cell "for investigation reasons", he said. Questioned by AFP, Gentil Kulimushi, president of the civil society of Bagira, who affirms to have followed the demonstrations of inhabitants confirmed the version of the bourgmestre.
Bourgmestre Patience Bengehya recalls that last March Ombeni Malekera "wanted to kidnap her three children to extort money from her husband".
In South Kivu, as in all of the eastern DRC, which is plagued by violence, cases of kidnapping of children but also of adults, sometimes with a demand for ransom, are carried out by armed men and militias. Cases of mutilation of children are also sometimes reported.
In February, a 5-year-old albino boy was killed by unknown persons and his body found without head or legs, in Kalehe (still in South Kivu), probably the victim of occult practices targeting albinos in certain African countries.