Police are holding a woman who was found carrying a baby in a laptop bag at Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi.
A guard who heard the baby crying stopped the woman.
The woman claimed that it was her phone’s ringtone, but the security guard, Joseph Bitok, insisted that the bag be searched.
The woman was booked at Shauri Moyo Police Station.
The management of the hospital declined to comment on the matter.
The baby’s mother, Rebecca Kasayo Ayiro, 35, said she had given birth the previous day and was being processed for discharge.
She said she had gone to the billing office, leaving the baby momentarily unattended on the bed at about 5.30pm.
“I came back only to find my baby missing and that is when I raised the alarm. Luckily an officer downstairs at the exit stopped the woman,” said Ms Ayiro.
“God is good and I thank Him because I got my baby back. Today’s world is cruel. Children are being abducted only to be sold off to other countries.”
The office of the governor said stern measures would be taken against the suspect.
Governor Mike Sonko urged nursing mothers, especially at county hospitals, to be vigilant.
“Let this incident be a lesson to all culprits. It is inhumane for someone to even think of stealing a baby who is only days old. I urge all nursing mothers to stay vigilant and in case of any suspicious activity, they can contact me directly on 0722886600,” said Sonko.
In February 2015, investigators commenced a probe of Pumwani Maternity Hospital over the alleged swapping and disappearance of twin babies.
Dedan Kimathi and his wife Jecinter, the parents of the twins born at the hospital on January 6, 2015, had protested that they were handed two bodies that they were convinced were not of their babies. A DNA test later concluded that the bodies were not of their biological children.
The hospital’s management, however, insisted that Jacinter had had a stillbirth.
On March 25, 2015, nurses and doctors at the hospital downed their tools to protest at an alleged baby theft scandal.
Expectant women had to seek care elsewhere while newborns were transferred to Kenyatta National Hospital.
The case was also a subject of investigation by the Senate Health Committee.