'I would like to go back to school and be with my friends again'

Life is returning to normal for the family of Damaries Gumede.

Life is returning to normal for the family of Damaries Gumede.

The 10-year-old girl was reunited with her family last Thursday, nearly two months after she was allegedly abducted and smuggled into Mozambique.

Damaries said she was happy to meet the latest addition to the family, her nephew Dimakatso, who was born two weeks ago.

"I would like to go back to school and be with my friends again. I missed them and my family," said the shy Grade 4 pupil.

Damaries vanished on January 22 with a neighbour Cristina "Lele" Michel, who had fetched her from her mother Johanna Gumede's workplace in Germiston, Ekurhuleni, ostensibly to braid her hair.

Gumede said her daughter's return would give her strength to go back to work. "I am happy she came back well and healthy."

Gumede fell ill last month after spending three weeks in Mozambique in search of her daughter.

Damaries' grandmother Christina Moyo said she did not harbour any hostility against her alleged abductor, who is still at large.

Moyo said Michel had fetched her granddaughter from her mother's workplace in Germiston and taken her to the Johannesburg city centre.

"She was surprised when they boarded a taxi to Maputo. Lele said they were going to visit her mother for the weekend."

But the two days spanned to two months of travelling from "place to place".

Investigating officer Captain Themba Vezi said the police were looking for Michel and a warrant of arrest was issued against her. He said she would be charged with kidnapping.

Vezi accompanied Damaries's eldest sister, Charlotte, to the Lebombo border post near Komatipoort, Mpumalanga, where she was delivered by a member of Interpol on Thursday.

Michel asked her mother to leave the little girl at a police station in Hulene, about 100km away from the South African border.

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