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Kanu appeal in torso case • Friday February 28, 2003

BBC, Feb. 28, 2003

The Arsenal footballer Nwankwo Kanu has appealed for information to help solve the murder of a young Nigerian boy whose mutilated body was found in the River Thames.

Scotland Yard detectives are in Nigeria trying to establish the boy’s identity.

They will be taking a videotaped message from the Nigerian footballer to villages in the south-western area of the country in the hope that it will persuade people to help with their murder inquiry.

Football is a passion in Nigeria and the British police officers hope that Kanu’s endorsement of their work will be influential.

Ritual killing

They believe that the young boy – named Adam by detectives – was between four and seven years old.

His dismembered body was found in the London river 18 months ago and police have said he may have been killed during some kind of ritual ceremony.

Forensic evidence suggests the boy had strong links with a rural area in south-western Nigeria between Benin City and Ibadan, which is a 100-mile by 50-mile corridor.

On Friday the two Scotland Yard detectives will be meeting the head of Nigeria’s police force, who will tell them that the abduction of young children for ritual killings happens in all parts of the country.

The cases are rarely solved, although there has been one successful prosecution recently, due largely to the persistence of the abducted boy’s mother.

A 50,000 reward is on offer for information leading to the conviction of Adam’s killers.

A second reward of 2,500, in local currency, is being offered for information leading to his identification.

Last year former South African president Nelson Mandela made an appeal for information which was translated into Yoruba, the local language, and posters went up in the area.

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