Kidnappers targeting children in Gauteng
Five children were kidnapped on three successive days this month in Gauteng and the kidnappers managed to extort money from their families.
This was revealed by Gauteng MEC for community safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane on Thursday.
In the first incident, a 17-year-old boy was kidnapped on December 1 at Kromiet Street, in Croydon, Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni.
“The kidnappers demanded a ransom of R10,000. Working closely with hostage negotiators, the family managed to pay an amount of R5,000 through an e-wallet transaction. The child was robbed of his cellphone and an amount of R450 before being dropped off in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. A case of kidnapping has been opened at Sebenza police station and investigations are currently under way,” Nkosi-Malobane said.
In the second incident, a six-year-old boy was kidnapped on December 2 in Clayville Ext 34, Midrand, and the kidnappers demanded a ransom of R15,000. The family of the child managed to pay an amount of R2,000 through an e-wallet transaction and the child was later dropped off at a KFC outlet in Kaalfontein.
A case of kidnapping and extortion was opened at the Olifantsfontein police station.
The third incident took place on December 3 at about 4pm in Clayville Ext 21 where three boys were kidnapped. Two of them were aged nine while one was eight years old.
The kidnappers demanded a ransom for the release of the children and the parents paid a total amount of R4,500, also through an e-wallet transaction. After the payment was effected, the children were released and dropped off near the Sasol garage in Midrand.
A kidnapping case has since been opened at Olifantsfontein police station and investigations are under way.
Nkosi-Malobane said the three incidents were disturbing and urged parents to take extra care of their children.
“As the country marks the festive season period, the safety of Gauteng citizens continues to be a matter of priority to the Gauteng provincial government. I am deeply saddened about the recent incidents of kidnapping and extortion involving young children. These incidents happened within a space of three days and the modus operandi for demanding [a] ransom seems to have been the driving force behind them,” she said.
Nkosi-Malobane said she had already instructed the provincial police management to assign a top and well-established team of detectives to hunt down the people behind the abductions.
"We cannot fold our arms and allow criminals to instil fear in parents and to deprive children of their rights to live and play freely in their communities, ”said MEC Nkosi-Malobane.