Boy Madonna Hopes to Adopt Leaves Africa

Boy Madonna Hopes to Adopt Leaves Africa
Madonna and Guy Ritchie
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

updated 10/16/2006 at 12:15 PM EDT

originally published 10/16/2006 12:30PM

A private jet carrying David Banda, the 1-year-old Malawian boy whom Madonna hopes to adopt, departed the African country on Monday, PEOPLE has confirmed.

"At about 4 o'clock Malawi time, we stamped five passports. One for David Banda, who was listed as having been born on Sept. 24, 2005, and two Brits and two Americans," an immigration officer tells PEOPLE.

The officer adds that the boy left on a small, chartered flight heading toward South Africa. The group he was with includes one of Madonna's bodyguards, according to Reuters.

The journey occurred less than a week after a hearing in Malawi's High Court that granted Madonna and husband Guy Ritchie an interim order permitting them custody of the child. Two star couple, who arrived in Malawi on Oct. 4 on what was described as a humanitarian trip, went home to England on Friday without boy, who did not have a passport.

On Sunday, the Human Rights Consultative Committee, a grouping of 67 human rights non-governmental organizations in Malawi, told PEOPLE they are hoping that legal measures will be taken in Malawi's High Court to halt Madonna's adoption of David.

While Malawian law has many requirements before an adoption by a non-resident can proceed, HRCC claims that officials are granting a waiver to Madonna, who has confirmed her intention to adopt the child. The boy's natural father, 31-year-old Yohane Banda, whose wife died a week after giving birth to David, said he placed his then five-week-old son in the orphanage because he couldn't properly care for him.

In response to the HRCC protest of Madonna's guardianship of David, Yohane Banda told PEOPLE: "As David's father I have no problem (with the adoption), so what is their concern? Are they jealous or what? What I want is good life, a good education for my child."

Madonna's rep, Liz Rosenberg, told PEOPLE that the singer and her legal team "have been working on her plans to adopt a baby from Malawi for quite some time. She had hoped to keep this very private and a family matter, but things didn't go that way."

In addition, Madonna's local lawyer in Malawi, Alan Chinula, told PEOPLE: "I have no instructions yet from my clients; what I have done is to file the adoption papers … if some people want to challenge it (the adoption process) we will deal with that later."
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