Safi brothers abduction: Further Ilford arrest brings total to 13 but no sign of main suspect or children
PUBLISHED: 15:41 31 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:48 31 August 2020
A total of 13 people have been arrested in relation to the violent abduction of three brothers but police are still hunting for Imran Safi, their father and the main suspect and the missing children.
A 31-year-old man was arrested at an Ilford home on Saturday and he has since been released under investigation.
On Friday four men, aged between 21 and 41, were arrested in Ilford on suspicion of being involved in the abduction but they have since been released and are due to return on bail to a south London police station in early September.
Detectives investigating the abduction of Bilal, Mohammed Ebrar and Mohammed Yaseen Safi - aged six, five and three, who were believed to have been forcefully taken from their foster home in south London by their father Imran Safi on Thursday, August 20, have recovered the Nissan car believed to have been used but so far he has eluded their grasp.
Police are still frantically searching for the missing boys and their father and are appealing for anyone who might have seen them in Ilford.
The boys were taken from their home in Coulsdon Road, Croydon while playing in the garden, while their foster carer was in the house.
She heard footsteps nearby, turned around and saw Mr Safi, 26.
The foster carer told police Mr Safi threatened her with a knife and forceably removed the children.
Ch Supt Dave Stringer, Commander of the South Area Basic Command Unit, said: “Whilst this is a fast-paced and developing investigation, we still need more information from the public to help us locate the children and their father.
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“Since we first appealed for help on the afternoon of Thursday, August 27, we have received around 40 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 Ilford areas to think long and hard about whether they saw these children, or their father, on the evening of Thursday, 20 August and possibly the morning of Friday, 21 August.”
Shortly after the children were taken an all ports alert was issued, meaning Mr Safi’s image and details were circulated to all ports and borders.
Detectives are working closely with national and international agencies to ensure any movement into foreign countries is identified.
Mr Safi is an Afghani national and has links to Pakistan.
At this stage, it is not known if he has travelled overseas.
The Met is continuing to appeal for any sightings on the afternoon of Thursday, August 20 of a red Nissan Qashqai, registration PK13 WFO, in the Croydon area to get in touch, even though the vehicle itself has now been located.
Police are asking anyone who believes they have seen Mr Safi and his children since Thursday, August 20 to contact police immediately through the investigation control room on 07942599374 – which is operational 24 hours a day seven days a week.
Alternatively, to stay completely anonymous, contact the charity Crimestoppers on freephone 0800 555 111 or fill in their simple and secure anonymous online form at crimestoppers-uk.org.
Any member of the public who may see Mr Safi should avoid approaching him but call police immediately on 999.
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