Police launch search along Berbice River for missing girl

Police investigators of B Division yesterday launched a search in the Berbice River area, for a 12 year old New Amsterdam girl who had been reported missing since early June, as they continue their probe into the alleged abduction.

However, up to press time last evening there had been no word as to whether the police were successful in finding the missing girl or not.

Commander of B Division, Lyndon Alves who confirmed the search, stated that ranks had ventured to the area sometime around 5 am on Wednesday. However, he added that the 13 year old girl who had been rescued sometime in July is giving the police conflicting information.

According to Alves, the 13-year-old is claiming that a woman allegedly told her what to say, in regards to her being abducted with the promise of giving her something in return for the holidays. However, he said in a meeting arranged with the girl and the woman, the 13-year- old’s claim that the woman had told her what to say, were denied by the woman.

He further stated, that the 13-year-old could not provide a specific location as to where she had allegedly been kept, and hence the police have decided to launch a broad search as they continue their investigation.

Meanwhile, the teen’s mother yesterday afternoon was anxiously awaiting news from the police as to whether they had found her daughter or not. She briefly told this publication that she was still hopeful of her daughter’s return.

On June 16, the 12-year-old reportedly went missing after leaving her grandmother’s home under the pretext of going to purchase icicles.  She was last seen standing at the head of her grandmother’s street.

According to her mother, the next day a missing person’s report was filed at the New Amsterdam Police Station and a search was launched for her daughter. She said that she later learnt that a friend of her daughter had also gone missing on the same day, but had returned home about one month later. She added that she had made contact with the young girl who told her that a woman from the New Amsterdam Market had lured her away.

The 13-year-old spoke with this newspaper on Monday and claimed that on June 16, she went to the market to collect items from her father and the woman had told her to accompany her to collect some money for her [the teen’s] father. She said that she accompanied the woman in a car to somewhere in Kortberaad Village, East Bank Berbice. According to the teen, there she saw a man, whom she later learnt was the woman’s son, armed with a gun, on a motorcycle.

The girl said that the man on the motorcycle then took her and the woman to Mara Village, where a boat with another one of the woman’s sons was waiting. It was there that the teen said she saw the missing girl.

“Them had she hands and foot tie up,” she said, while adding that the boat then took them “up the Berbice River.”

The teen alleged that they were physically and sexually assaulted. On many evenings, she said, while the men were asleep, they had attempted to escape with the boat but were never successful.

The girl added that at one point the men decided to separate them, holding her in one camp and her schoolmate in another.

She said they were not fed until dinner time each day, when they would receive a tennis roll and some water.

According to the teen she was rescued about one month after being kidnapped.

“Me father does sell market and like he hear things and police come in and them save me. But one ah de lady son grab [the missing girl] and run in the bush, and the police and so nah search, them just bring me out,” she related.

The Ministry of Social Protection, in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, said it takes seriously any case of alleged trafficking in persons which has been reported to the ministry. It noted that it had been contacted about the alleged case in the Berbice area and is in close contact with the officers in the district to ensure that the safety of those involved is a priority.

The statement also said that the ministry advocates that in the interest of victims, all matters are to be reported to the relevant authorities so as to facilitate the work of the trained officers.

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