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A Tale of Child Abductions

[Almost three years ago, there were reports going around the grapevine that sinister men in white vans were going around kidnapping children so that their internal organs could be removed and sold in the international organ transplant market. The rumors, in fact, actually made the national television networks. Whether there was any truth to the rumors, I guess we will never know. The stories, not to mention the hysteria, eventually died a natural death. I was skimming through my old Facebook notes and thought this one was worth re-running.]

Before anything else, nothing about what you will read below has been confirmed. Yet, much like an editor of a sleazy tabloid, I thought I would engage in some sensationalism.

I was having a moment of “meditation” in our secret garden – having a quiet smoke, I believe, is how it is known elsewhere – when Jojo joined me and asked if I had heard the news.

"What news?"

Four children, he said, were allegedly abducted from one of the better known elementary schools in the city, and the widespread conjecture was that the abduction was carried out by a criminal syndicate that sold internal organs in the underground market.

He was alarmed enough, Jojo said, to momentarily leave a meeting to call home and check if his daughter was already home from school.

“This is what the world has come to?” I asked, still not entirely believing what seemed a truly incredulous tale.

I asked Eugene later what the fuss was all about. He had a more pragmatic opinion, however, likening the story to the tale of the manunupot with which our parents used to scare us when we were young so that we would not wander too far away from our homes.

Sinister men, or so the story went, went around during the pre-war years to abduct and behead children so that their blood could be painted on railways to strengthen the steel.

Why the children had to be beheaded when the men were after their blood is not something I can explain. I did not invent the story, after all… Neither do I know what chemical effect blood was supposed to have to be able to strengthen steel.

All I know is that the bodies were, afterwards, disposed of by the sinister men. Hence, the term manunupot, in reference to the large bags into which the decapitated bodies were placed before these were discarded. At least, that was how I remembered the story…

At any rate, while Eugene probably found the story as incredible as I did, he also had given our security personnel, as a precaution, instructions to be on the lookout for anything extraordinary. Better to be safe than sorry, as the saying goes…

Apparently, the story had spread around the city. I had dinner with Daren before going home, and he told me parents at the community center in Tambô, where he was on student nurse duty, were admonishing each other earlier in the afternoon to keep a closer eye on their kids because of what had allegedly happened at the elementary school.

A classmate from San Pablo, he said, had also told him of a similar incident which happened in that city a few weeks back. More bizarrely, and perhaps consequently fanning the flames of the internal organ syndicate theory, large amounts of money were left inside the bodies after the organs were taken away.

Hmmmmm... evil men with a sense of ethics... that's a new one!!!

The truth is, I don’t really know what to make of this story. I have yet to see an item on the evening news. Ditto the web sites of the local broadsheets.

Makes a good read, though, wouldn’t you say…???

[This story was first published on Facebook on 22 February 2008.]

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