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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 October 2006, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Madonna row child flies into UK
David Banda arrives at Heathrow Airport
TV footage showed a woman carrying a child through the airport

The Malawian child Madonna is seeking to adopt has been taken to the US singer's London home.

One-year-old David Banda flew from Johannesburg overnight with a bodyguard and Madonna's personal assistant.

The baby arrived at London's Heathrow airport at 0630 BST, despite claims by some charities that the rules on adoption have been bent for the star.

A statement from the star's publicist confirmed Madonna had been granted an interim adoption of the child.

The decision by a Malawian court gives the singer and her husband, film-maker Guy Ritchie, temporary custody of 13-month-old David Banda for 18 months.

A group of charities in Malawi had tried to stop the adoption, claiming it was unlawful because Madonna has not lived in the African country.

Madonna

David was carried by the assistant through the airport, with a grey-hooded top hiding him from the view of surrounding press.

He was taken to the star's home near London's Marble Arch, where many of the world's media were waiting.

He was reported to be remarkably alert following the long flight.

The couple's statement, issued on Monday evening, said the boy had been given a passport and visa.

"It is expected that the family will be reunited within the next few days," it said.

Madonna's publicist Liz Rosenberg said the star was "going to do her best to not make it a public circus".

HAVE YOUR SAY
Why not support the child's paternal father, house them, feed them, educate the little boy for life and give him the chance to succeed in his own society?
Maddelean, Cairo

During 18 months of temporary custody the couple "will be evaluated by the courts of Malawi per the tribal customs of the country," the statement said.

The baby was flown out of Malawi by private plane to South Africa on Monday, where the party boarded a scheduled flight for London.

The singer, 48, returned to the UK three days earlier, but David was unable to travel as he did not have a passport.

The Human Rights Consultative Committee of 67 Malawian organisations had been due to go to court on Monday seeking an injunction to halt the adoption process.

But it deferred the move, saying it wanted to interview an unidentified uncle of David's who was "said to be opposed to the adoption plan".

Father's wishes

The committee insists that Malawian law prohibits international adoption and requires a minimum of 18 months' assessment.

But Penston Kilembe, director of child welfare in the ministry of gender, Child Welfare and Community Services, said Madonna and her husband had broken no laws.

"The process did not start today - Madonna's people have been pushing the papers for some time and her coming was just to sign the papers to conclude the process," he said.

The boy's father, Yohame Banda, has agreed to the adoption.

"What I want is a good life for my child," he said.




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