£20,000 reward in hunt for father who ‘abducted boys at knifepoint’

News

A £20,000 reward has been offered in the international hunt for a father who allegedly abducted his three young sons at knifepoint from their foster home and smuggled them abroad.

Imran Safi, 26, is believed to have snatched Bilal, six, Mohammed Ebrar, five, and Mohammed Yaseen, three, after tying up their foster mother.

The children were bundled into a red Nissan Qashqai and driven away from the house in Coulsdon, south London, on August 20.

Detectives today issued new photographs of the three boys playing in a Croydon park hours before they disappeared.

A CCTV image of a car, with a suspected accomplice in the passenger seat, has also been released. The Nissan, registration PK13 WFO, was photographed travelling down Marlpit Lane, Coulsdon, shortly after the abduction at 6pm.

Officers believe Safi, an Afghan national with links to Pakistan, took the children overseas after learning they were to be adopted.

Fifteen arrests have been made in connection with the investigation. All the suspects, including two women, have been bailed.

Met Commander Bas Javid said: “I can’t imagine how distressing this whole situation has been for the three young boys, who have been taken away from their safe environment, and our efforts to locate Imran Safi continue.

“We are now offering a £20,000 reward for any information that will lead us to Safi and help us to bring the children home safely. We also need the public’s help to identify a man who was the passenger in the red Nissan at the time the children were taken.

“He may hold valuable information as to where the children and Imran Safi are. We believe that Imran and the children have most likely left the UK.

“Our working theory is that they have left via a clandestine route, but to where? We still are unsure.” The Met were criticised for taking seven days to a make public appeal for information during which Safi is thought to have left the UK. They believe the abduction was planned, with a “strong possibility” that Safi’s friends, family or associates were involved.

An all-ports alert has been issued. The boys’ mother is in the UK and has been in contact with police.