The Gambia’s police chief threatened to arrest those reporting that children are being abducted in West African nation saying the reports are “false and baseless” and that those responsible just want to cause panic among the population.
Authorities said Wednesday they are aware of the reports trending on social media but they were unable to substantiate any of the alleged kidnappings.
Although the police said there was no evidence of children being abducted, pictures of missing children between the ages of 7 and 14 have been published with contact information to their families.
Parents on Monday kept their children home and some went to school to withdraw theirs as more information on missing children were released on Facebook and Twitter. A video showed a woman and her child escape an attempted kidnap at a busy intersection in Churchills Town, in Serrekunda.
A pro-opposition radio station interviewed an unidentified man who accused The Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh of plotting to use more than 70 children as “human sacrifice in a ritual to retain his presidency.”
President Yahya Jammeh is yet to react to the news. More than a thousand people were arrested on suspicion of being witches by Jammeh in 2009 giving them foul smelling hallucinogens, which killed some.
Jammeh, 51 claims he can cure AIDS using herbs and bananas, and is facing a coalition of seven opposition parties in a presidential election in December.