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Scandal of the lost children.

Byline: By JOHN DEANE

HUNDREDS of young African boys have disappeared from schools in London, police investigating the murder of a child whose torso was found in the River Thames have revealed.

To try to identify the body, the victim of a suspected ritualistic killing, Metropolitan Police officers asked every education authority in London how many black boys aged between four and seven had gone missing.

In one three-month period between July and September 2001, some 300 children were found to have disappeared.

There was nothing to suggest that they had been murdered but a lack of immigration records made it impossible to trace them.

The headless and limbless body, named Adam by police, was found in the river near Tower Bridge in September 2001.

Police suspect he was the victim of a ritual killing after being brought to Britain from Nigeria. Tests suggest the boy, believed to have been aged between four and six, may have been poisoned.

Evidence found in Adam's lower intestine was identified as being the highly poisonous calabar bean which police think may have been used to subdue him before his death.

Other contents in his stomach including crushed bone, and clay pellets impregnated with gold and quartz were discovered in his lower intestine.

Child welfare experts fear that many African children are brought into the country for the purposes of benefit fraud, passed between adults and, in the worst cases, physically and sexually abused.

The children's so-called carers often told police that the missing youngsters had returned to Africa but Interpol inquiries in countries of origin drew a blank.

Police managed to trace only two of the 300 missing children
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 14, 2005
Words:276
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