Nurses group probe 'baby-snatching' cases

Nursing authorities say they will investigate whether UK midwives colluded in an alleged Kenyan baby-snatching ring run by a London-based evangelical church.

Authorities in Kenya and Britain have taken custody of more than 20 children from members of the church.

Kenyan authorities are seeking the extradition of Gilbert Deya, a south London preacher who claims to have used the power of prayer to make infertile women bear "miracle babies," sometimes giving birth three or more times in the same year.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council, which regulates the two professions in Britain, said on Wednesday it was looking into claims by the church that midwives had vouched the births were genuine.

"Midwives and nurses must be trustworthy, and it would be misleading for a health care professional to endorse the biologically impossible," Christina McKenzie, Head of Midwifery, said in a statement.

Kenyan authorities say DNA tests show the children are not related to the women who claim to be their mothers. They have charged Deya's wife and two of his followers with kidnapping.

Deya, now in Scotland, says he is innocent and that the "miracles" are bona fide. His lawyers are fighting his extradition, saying he could not receive a fair trial in Kenya.

London's Metropolitan Police force says its Child Abuse Investigative Command is looking into the baby-trafficking allegations but British police have made no arrests.

The nursing regulator said it was "aware of statements supporting miraculous conceptions by members of an evangelical church who claim to be registered midwives or nurses".

It will investigate any case involving a registered midwife or nurse, and would report to police if any people were posing as registered midwives who were not properly registered, which could be a crime.

"There may be child protection issues involved in these cases and our Code of Conduct requires that all NMC registrants follow UK law and policies in relation to this," it said.