Police in Eastern province have nabbed a 20-year-old woman of Kwajoya village in Chief Mshawa’s area of Chipata district for stealing a baby.

Confirming the incident to journalists, Wednesday, Eastern Province Police Commissioner Luckson Sakala said the 2-day old baby was stolen around 14:00 hours from Chipata Central Hospital.

Sakala said the baby’s mother, 16, had stepped out of the ward for a while when the incident happened.

“The baby’s mother had stepped out of the ward to go and inform the baby’s grandmother that they were being discharged from hospital,” Sakala said.

He said the baby was recovered by members of the public at Second Class Area, also known as Down Shops, where the suspect was about to board a taxi going to her village.

The Police Commissioner said the suspect, Esther Mwanza, is currently in police custody charged with child stealing and is scheduled to appear in court soon.

And in an interview, grandmother to the baby, Josephine Phiri, explained that she left her daughter and the baby in the hospital to check out on her business as she is a vegetable trader at Chipata’s Saturday market.

“I went to to the market to display my merchandise and on my way back, I met my daughter. I was surprised to see her so I asked where the baby was she told me she left the baby with the women in the ward and we walked back to the hospital together. When we got there, the baby was not in the ward the women we found told us that the baby was taken by one of the ladies, That’s how I informed the nurse of the missing child and the search started,” Josephine narrated.

She said one of the transporters whom she found outside the hospital gave them a clue of where Easter could be as she was reported having booked one of the bicycles to take her to the bus station.

Josephine said they finally managed to find the baby with the help of the bicycle transporter who gave the suspect a lift.

Meanwhile, the bicycle transporter who took Esther to the bus station said he was suspicious of Esther because despite the baby being very young, Esther had no one to escort her and was not in need any help in carrying the child.

“I was very suspicious of that girl so I asked where she was going and she told me stays in chief Mshawa’s area,” said the transporter, who sought anonymity.