Niger’s agriculture minister has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in a baby-trafficking network, a spokesman for his political party said on Saturday. The arrest of Abdou Labo, a senior figure in President Mahamadou Issoufou’s ruling coalition, comes after 17 people, including his wife and the spouses of other politicians, were arrested in June as part of a police investigation. Labo, who is one of five ministers of state in the 36-member government, denied any involvement in trafficking after his wife was arrested.
The minister called to say the judge had decided to place him in detention. He is presumed innocent for the moment.
Kabirou Adamou, spokesman for Abdou Labo’s Democratic and Social Convention Party
Niger police suspect those currently being detained of acquiring newborn babies from “baby factories” in neighbouring Nigeria. All suspects have been charged with substituting children, forgery and making false statements. The case has been referred to Niger’s public prosecutor. Last year, police in Nigeria raided several “baby factories”, freeing dozens of pregnant girls who were being forced to bear children for sale.