Ghana 'baby-harvesting syndicate' arrested

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image captionTwo babies were sold to undercover investigators for about $5,000 each

Members of an alleged "baby-harvesting" and child-trafficking syndicate have been arrested in Ghana.

It follows a sting operation where two babies were sold to investigators for about $5,000 (£3,600) and $4,800 each.

The 11 suspects include two doctors, four nurses, two mothers, two social welfare officers, and a traditional birth attendant.

They were allegedly operating at health facilities in the capital, Accra, and the neighbouring city of Tema.

Authorities believe some of the mothers may have been told their babies had died after delivery.

They say others who were unable to take care of their new-borns may have been encouraged to sell them.

The two rescued baby boys are now in the care of the authorities.

The BBC's Thomas Naadi in Accra says the case has come as a surprise to many in Ghana, where talk of "baby-harvesting" is not new but until now there had been no evidence of the practice.

Elsewhere in the continent, a number of so-called "baby factories" have been reported in recent years in Nigeria, and Kenya's government has ordered an investigation into the theft and sale of babies following a BBC investigation.

media captionThe Kenyan government acted after this report by BBC Africa Eye

The investigations that led to this week's arrests in Ghana lasted several months, and were jointly led by the Ghana Medical and Dental Council and the Economic and Organised Crime Office.

They were first alerted to the alleged suspects last year, when a taxi driver gave a tip-off.

The licences of the two arrested doctors have been withheld until a court determines the case.

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