13th arrest over abduction of three brothers as hunt continues for father
Police have arrested a 13th suspect over the disappearance of three young brothers kidnapped by their father from a foster home in south London.
The 31-year-old man held by police was taken to a south London police station on suspicion of conspiracy to abduct a child.
Detectives continue to hunt for Imran Safi, who abducted his three sons Bilal, Mohammed Ebrar and Mohammed Yaseen, aged six, five and three.
On Friday, police arrested four other suspects in Ilford, also on suspicion of conspiracy to abduct children. These men have now been released on bail.
They are all thought to be known to the boys’ father Imran Safi, 26, who officers believe may have abducted his sons because they were about to be officially adopted.
Detectives say the children were playing in the garden of their foster home on 20 August while their carer was in the house.
The carer told officers she heard footsteps nearby, turned around and saw Safi, who threatened her with a knife and used force to take the children.
He drove off in a red Nissan Qashqai car, with a registration plate which reads PK13 WFO.
The foster carer did not suffer any serious physical injuries, but was left “distressed”.
A manhunt for Safi was immediately launched by detectives. They have been working out of a specialist facility to trace his movements.
Chief superintendent Dave Stringer said: “Whilst this development has brought us one step closer to finding Imran and the three children, we still need more information from the public to help us locate them.
“Since we appealed for help [on Thursday 27 August] we have received more than 30 calls from members of the public to our control room and via Crimestoppers. These calls are now being followed up by my officers who continue to work all hours of the day to bring these children home safely.
“I would really urge anyone from the Croydon, and now Ilford, area to think long and hard about if they saw these children, or their father, the evening of Thursday, 20 August and possibly the morning of Friday 21 August.”
Anyone who believes they have seen Safi and his children since Thursday 20 August should contact the police immediately through the investigation control room on 07942599374.
The number is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Alternatively, people can contact the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.
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