Safi brothers abduction: Police arrest four men in Ilford on suspicion of being involved as manhunt for father continues
- Credit: Archant
Four men have been arrested in Ilford on suspicion of being involved in the abduction of three children, with the police still searching for the boys and their father.
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 arrested four men on suspicion of being involved in the abduction.
The men, aged between 21 and 41, were arrested early this morning (Friday, August 28) in Ilford and are thought to be known to Mr Safi.
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.
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A manhunt was launched and police put out the make and model of the car he was driving, a Nissan Qashqai, registration PK13 WFO on the day of the abduction.
Ch Supt Dave Stringer, Commander of the South Area Basic Command Unit, said: “Whilst this development has brought us one step closer to finding Mr Safi and the three children, we still need more information from the public to help us locate them.
“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, August 20 and possibly the morning of Friday, August 21.”
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.
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.