The New York Times
August 6, 2003
ARRESTS IN LONDON KILLING LINKED TO CHILD TRAFFICKING
LONDON, Aug. 5 A recent breakthrough in the investigation of the
killing of a Nigerian boy found headless and limbless in the Thames
River almost two years ago has brought new scrutiny to the growth of
child trafficking in Britain.
Last week, riot police officers arrested 21 people here in a series of
raids as part of the investigation into the death of the boy they call
Adam. The child, who was between 4 and 7, is believed to have been the
victim of a ritualistic sacrifice after being smuggled from Nigeria.
"We are pretty confident that we have a group of individuals who would
have trafficked Adam into the country, but our inquiries are still at a
very, very early stage," Detective Inspector Will O'Reilly said at a
news conference after the raids.
Inspector O'Reilly added that the police had uncovered what they
believe is a "criminal network concentrating on people trafficking,
particularly from mainland Africa through Europe to the U.K."
Among the evidence seized by the police was an animal skull with a nail
through its head and an assortment of soil and clay. "These items
obviously have some ritualistic meaning and we are bringing them back
our experts," Inspector O'Reilly said.
Law enforcement officials have long suspected that Adam fell victim to
child trafficking ring.
There has been an increase reported in child trafficking in Britain,
both as a destination and as a transit point, reflecting a worldwide
increase in the crime. The children have turned up in an array of
cities, including places like Newcastle, a long way from Britain's main
airports and seaports.
There are also signs that more and more children are coming from
countries, including Nigeria where Adam came from Sierra Leone,
Angola and Burundi.
A newly published report by the British branch of Unicef highlighted
growth of the problem in Britain, where it said there were hundreds of
known cases of children being forced into sexual and domestic slavery.
Since the cases are difficult to detect, the more accurate number is
almost certainly in the thousands, said the report, titled "Stop the
"It's very hard to see how the authorities can be picking up more than
a small fraction of the actual cases that are arriving here," said
David Bull, executive director of Unicef U.K. "The chances are quite
strong that a trafficked child arriving here under current arrangements
won't be identified and protected."
In Adam's case, the police faced almost insurmountable odds in
gathering evidence. When they found the boy's body, clothed in only a
pair of girl's orange gym shorts, floating in the river in September
2001, they did not know who he was or where he was killed.
Using forensic investigative tools, Scotland Yard chipped away at the
case. Pollen found in the boy's body meant he was alive when he arrived
in London. Tests on the mineral levels in his bones established that he
came from within 100 miles of the Benin City area in Nigeria.
A break in the case came a year ago when the police arrested, and later
released, a Nigerian woman who was reported to have told social
in Scotland that she wanted to perform a ritual with her children.
The police searched her house and found a pair of orange gym shorts,
same brand and size as Adam's, which are available only in Germany. Her
arrest led to other arrests.
Earlier this month, Sam Onojhighovie, 37, a Nigerian man who the police
said could be the boy's father, was arrested. He faces extradition to
Germany, where he has already been convicted and sentenced for crimes
linked to trafficking in people.
Those arrested last week will have DNA tests to see if they are related
The British government is in the process of strengthening an existing
law that makes it illegal to import a child for sexual purposes. But
bill would do little to close a loophole that permits child trafficking
for other reasons, like domestic servitude.
At the same time, Britain is getting ready to close its only safe house
for children who have been the victims of child trafficking, a
development that worries children's advocates.
"This should be seen as a child protection issue, not an immigration
issue," Mr. Bull said
The Straits Times (Singapore)
August 5, 2003
KEY SUSPECT 'TOOK PART IN RITUAL KILLINGS OF 11 KIDS'; SAM
ONOJHIGHOVIE - A NIGERIAN HELD IN DUBLIN FOR THE MURDER OF 'ADAM' - IS
A VOODOO CULT MEMBER, SAYS WIFE
LONDON - A key suspect in the River Thames torso murder case was
involved in the ritual killing of 11 African children, his wife has
Police have named the suspect as Nigerian Sam Onojhighovie, 37, who
comes from Benin City - in the same region in Africa where the dead
known as Adam, lived.
Adam's body, with his head, arms and legs cut off and missing, was
found two years ago under London's famous Tower Bridge, clad only in a
pair of pink shorts.
Scotland Yard detectives are certain that Adam, aged between four and
seven, was killed in the London area in a black magic ritual sacrifice
the victim of African voodoo cult members.
According to news reports, Onojhighovie's estranged wife Joyce, 32,
told the British authorities in November 2001 that her husband was
deeply involved in a demonic African cult which had killed 11
youngsters, including one of her daughters.
She said she had run away from her husband while they were living in a
house in Hamburg, Germany, fearing for her own life.
When police searched the house, they found five items of children's
clothing of the brand Kids and Co - the same label on the shorts worn
Adam. Two of the items were shorts, identical in size to Adam's.
With details provided by his wife, Scotland Yard launched an
international hunt for Onojhighovie.
They found him in Dublin last month after he made an application for
asylum using his real name.
But police, after searching his home, found documents indicating he
had at least 10 aliases.
Detectives then discovered that Onojhighovie had fled from Hamburg
German police were investigating him for child trafficking.
He has since been charged in Germany with trafficking and fraud.
Nigerian police have told Scotland Yard that they believe the shadowy
cult of which Onojhighovie is a member has been involved in bizarre
Onojhighovie is being detained in Dublin while further investigations
are carried out.
DNA tests are being done to see if he is related to Adam.
Investigations are also being made to find any link between
Onojhighovie and 21 Africans - many of them from the Benin City area - who were arrested last week in London for suspected child trafficking.
Among evidence seized during the arrests were pots of earth and the
skull of an animal head with a nail driven through it.
Powdered bone, as well as fine gold dust and crushed clay, were found
Scotland Yard said that experts at the chief medical examiner's unit in
New York, who developed new techniques in identifying microscopic bone
particles after the Sept 11 terrorist attacks, are assisting in the