There is seeming confusion over whether or not the 28-year-old woman who was allegedly kidnapped in Takoradi last Thursday and finally found recently in Axim on Tuesday, was pregnant or not.
While the family members of the victim including the husband are insisting that Josephine Panyin Mensah was nine-months pregnant when she was allegedly kidnapped, the Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah is saying preliminary security briefings is not supporting the pregnancy claim.
He said initial reports from doctors at the Axim Hospital, where the supposed victim was admitted when she was found on Tuesday, is indicating that she was not pregnant.
The medical report is said to have been produced by Dr. Jerry Attobrah of the Axim Government Hospital where the victim was admitted for some treatment after she was found loitering by a local carpenter at Axim Bankyim in the Nzema East Municipality.
Speaking to Kumasi-based Kessben FM, the Regional Minister indicated that the report from the doctor threw so much doubt about what the husband of the victim told the police when the woman reportedly went missing.
“The information the doctor gave was that the woman doesn’t seem to be somebody who was pregnant in the first place and all the signs and symptoms don’t show anybody who had given birth in the last few days,” the Regional Minister said.
He added that, “I received a call from NIB yesterday that she had been found and was at the Axim Hospital. According to the police, they suspect that the story was fake per their preliminary investigations. The medical doctor who attended to her even suspects that she may not have been pregnant, as has been reported. They are even surprised at how this story has gone so far. This is the immediate information I have. Nevertheless, the police are still with her and are conducting further investigations.”
The Regional Minister has therefore, charged the police to investigate the case thoroughly looking at the roles of the victim, and her husband and the mother.
“I have directed the police to conduct further investigations on the husband and his mother,” he said.
Meanwhile, Speaking to DAILY GUIDE in an interview, Michael Kwesi Simons insisted that his wife was pregnant and could not fathom why the doctor was reported to have said that his wife was not pregnant.
According to the husband, he, together with the wife had a male child who is three years old through caesarean section (CS) and that they were not a couple who wanted a child at all cost for them to fake a pregnancy.
“I am disappointed in the Regional Minister because when the news about the missing of my wife broke out, he did not find time to look for the family to commiserate with us but you go on air to speak untruth about my wife,” he lamented.
He continued, “As I speak to you, I am here at the Axim Hospital but nobody has told me what the minister has said. I am here with my wife’s mother and we are all praying that she will speak so that the truth will come out.”
When DAILY GUIDE asked the husband for a photograph of the wife when she was pregnant, Mr. Simons directed the paper to check his Facebook wall because he posted some videos of the wife when she was pregnant.
After checking the Facebook wall of the husband, DAILY GUIDE saw a woman believed to be the wife with a male child.
When this reporter forwarded the picture to the husband who is currently in Axim, he confirmed that it was the wife and their three-year-old kid.
When DAILY GUIDE asked him to tell which health centre the wife was attending antenatal care, he said he had given that information to the police.
DAILY GUIDE gathered that the wife was reportedly attending antenatal care at the Takoradi Hospital, also called ‘European Hospital’, and when journalists contacted that hospital, the Administrator, Rev. Osei Boateng confirmed that indeed the victim visited the hospital on a number of occasions.
He, however, did not disclose the condition of the woman or the findings of the doctor who was taking care of her.
“Even the police had been here and we went through some documents of the victim but we told the police that if they wanted any further information details about the woman, they should officially write to the hospital,” he pointed out.
He explained that “per the rules governing our work, we don’t just get up to give information about our patients.”
When DAILY GUIDE visited the residence of the victim at Amoono Road in Takoradi, almost all the tenants were furious about the comments by the Regional Minister.
Evans Mensah, an uncle of the victim, described the comments by the minister as unfortunate and that the minister could have checked from the family after receiving the alleged information before going public with it.
Some other tenants in the house who gave their names as Christina Antwi, Stephen Cann, Mrs. Marian Cann and Yaya Koomson, all corroborated the story by the victim’s mother and insisted that Josephine Mensah was pregnant.
“In fact we realised that the pregnancy was even more than nine months and so we were even teasing her that she would give birth to twins,” they stressed.
DAILY GUIDE later visited where the woman used to sell assorted provisions near Zenith Hotel in Takoradi, and all those around the area also insisted that Josephine was pregnant.
On Tuesday, the 28-year-old heavily pregnant woman reportedly kidnapped last Thursday in Takoradi in the Western Region was found in Axim, which is approximately 59.9 km, translating into some one hour 30 minutes drive from the regional capital where she was kidnapped, and the claim was that she was found without her baby.
Information from Axim had indicated that the lady who is a twin herself, was found in a state of blankness at a place called Axim Bankyim.
The woman, who before being kidnapped was said to be nine months pregnant and was almost in labour, was found near the Jehovah Witness church building at Axim, where she was believed to have been dumped there by her captors.
According to the source, the woman who looked traumatised and could not speak, wrote on a sheet of paper that she gave birth at an unknown place and further wrote that the kidnappers took her newly-born baby away.
How She Was Found
A carpenter who operates from opposite the Jehovah Witness church building saw the fair in complexion woman smeared with clay, crossing the road at about 8am on Tuesday.
The carpenter mistook her for a mentally ill person but later some of his apprentices saw her near some flowers around the church building shivering, so they decided to get closer to her to find out what was wrong with her.
According to the source, when the carpenter and his boys crossed the road and went to the woman, she started crying but could not speak.
“So the woman made a sign to indicate they should give her a sheet of paper and a pen. When she was given, she wrote her name ‘Josephine Panyin Mensah’ and the telephone number of her pastor,” the eyewitness narrated.
When the pastor was called and they described the woman to him, he confirmed that, that was the missing person they have been looking for.
The source continued that after the news broke in the Axim area, someone who is a friend of the husband of the missing woman brought the picture which was used in the announcement to help find the lady, and when it was displayed to the woman, she signaled that she was the same person.
The husband’s friend subsequently called the husband and broke the news to him. So the pastor, the husband and some relatives quickly travelled from Takoradi to Axim to ascertain the facts.
They first went to the Axim Police Station and later to the Axim Government Hospital where the woman is currently placed on admission for treatment.
Baby Taken Away
The woman is also reported to have written that she gave birth to a baby at the location where the kidnappers took her, and said the hoodlums took her baby away.
Residents in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis went into jubilation when the news broke out that the lady had been found safe, but were disappointed that her baby was not with her.
According to reports, the pregnant woman went on a morning walk from the Amanoo road to the Paa Grant Roundabout in Takoradi on Thursday as part of her routine exercise, however, she did not return home, sparking fears that she might have been kidnapped.
Paul Simons, husband of the missing woman, during the weekend said he received calls from someone suspected to have kidnapped his wife, demanding ransom and subsequently reported the matter to the police in the Western Region for them to trace his wife.
The husband had said his wife was staying with her mother due to her situation, and has been doing routine walk every morning.
He said on Thursday, at about 11 am, his mother-in-law received a call from someone claiming to have kidnapped the pregnant woman and demanded ransom before he could release her daughter.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi