Police seek assistance in reuniting abducted children with families

Grace Gumbo, 26, and Mercy Tsoko, 28, were arrested on New Year’s Day, are alleged to have abducted three children

Grace Gumbo, 26, and Mercy Tsoko, 28, were arrested on New Year’s Day, are alleged to have abducted three children

Published Jan 3, 2024


Mpumalanga police are looking for help to track down the family of two abducted children, including a four-month-old baby girl, while two women accused of the alleged abduction were expected to make their second court appearance on Wednesday.

The duo – Grace Gumbo, 26, and Mercy Tsoko, 28, who were arrested on New Year’s Day – are alleged to have abducted three children, including the baby girl abducted last Thursday (December 28).

The two suspects, who remain in police custody, were expected to make a second court appearance at the Kriel Magistrate’s Court in Mpumalanga on Wednesday, after their first court appearance on Tuesday saw the matter postponed for further investigation.

“Police got a tip-off from community members about the two women who were pretending to be caregivers, roaming around Ogies with three babies,” said Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Selvy Mohlala. “The police in Kriel swiftly responded to the information then managed to arrest the two suspects, and reportedly found them with three children, two baby girls as well as one baby boy.

“The two were reportedly cornered in one of the shacks in Ogies. It was during this period when the astute members discovered that, besides the four-months-old girl, there was a baby boy who is believed to be 3 years old, and it is suspected that the child was also abducted at Marble Hall in April 2023.

“As if that was not enough, another baby girl, believed to be eight months old, was found as well during the arrest of the two. This child also is believed to have been abducted at Springs in September 2023, allegedly by the two women,” he said.

According to Mohlala, while the two women were charged with abduction, as well as contravention of the Immigration Act of South Africa, police cannot rule out the possibility of adding more charges against them as the investigation continues.

Mpumalanga provincial police commissioner Semakaleng Daphney Manamela applauded members of the public who were quick to alert police about the two suspects.

Police are now urging members of the community to assist in locating the families of the children, reported to be from Marble Hall, Limpopo and Springs, Johannesburg.

Information can be directed to Kriel SAPS at 082 798 0723 or Crime Stop at 08600 10111. Alternatively, members of the public can send information via the MySAPS app.

All received information will be treated as confidential and callers may opt to remain anonymous.

Cape Times