AFTER enduring a two-day kidnapping ordeal Imaculada da Conceiçaó Amoes is relieved and happy that her five-year-old son is safely back home.
Amoes would not reveal how much the family had to pay for the release of five-year-old Samuel, but Sowetan understands that they forked out $150 000 (about R1,1 million).
"I would have sold my house and everything else I have if it meant having my baby back," the mother of seven said yesterday.
Samuel was kidnapped by four armed men at a church in Troyeville, Johannesburg, on Sunday.
Speaking from her home in Bedfordview, eastern Joburg, Amoes said she had agreed to pay the ransom after receiving assurances from the abductors that her son was safe. Amoes said one of the abductors told her: "I don't want to kill the baby. I just want to do business with you."
She said the men had threatened to kill Samuel if she involved the police or failed to come up with the money.
Amoes said she spoke to the abductors on the phone on her return from Angola on Monday, where she and her husband Faustino had been on business for two months. The couple have mining interests in that country.
The exchange, yesterday in Troyeville, was arranged following communication between the men and one of Samuel's sisters and uncle, with the help of private investigator Declan Condon.
Condon said the abductors had made contact with the family on Monday by sending a letter by metered taxi with a contact number to the Amoeses' house.
He said it seemed the kidnappers had targeted Samuel because they had picked him out of "half a dozen" children at the Sunday school. His nine-year-old brother was also at the Sunday school.
Condon said Samuel and his three older siblings had taken a meter taxi to the church after being stood up by the family's chauffer.
The children were left in the care of an aunt and an au pair, who looked after them while their parents were away in Angola.
He said the family suspected the kidnappers were the same people that arrived at the church, asking to join the congregation two months ago, despite not speaking Portuguese.
Condon said the case had been handed over to the police.
Police spokesperson Captain Cynthia Magoai confirmed that the police were investigating and that a case of kidnapping was opened at Jeppe police station.