Police at Komatipoort, Mpumalanga, are investigating an incident in which three employees were kidnapped from a farm at Komatipoort.
The trio, two women and a man, were kidnapped in the evening of Sunday, 24 September, before they were “somehow released from the hands of their assailants” on Friday.
“A report by the police indicates that three suspects, armed with pangas, entered the farm and then pounced on workers and held the trio hostage. Another employee could have been the fourth one but he was fortunate after hiding underneath a tractor,” according to Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.
It is alleged that the assailants then forcefully took the three employees, into the bushes and held them under duress.
Their families of the abducted trio became worried, not knowing what could have happened to their loved ones. The matter was eventually reported to the police at Komatipoort. A case of kidnapping was registered.
“A team of experts was immediately established to probe the matter under the leadership of the provincial commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela,” said Mohlala.
The team included several units of the SAPS including the Tactical Response Team, K9 unit, detectives from Komatipoort SAPS, the crime intelligence unit, hostage negotiators, as well as officials from the department of health.
“All the victims were fortunately freed by their capturers though these kidnappers are still at large. The team is working around the clock to ensure that these perpetrators are soon brought to book,” said Mohlala.
“The victims are currently traumatized. However, they are receiving the necessary support needed as well as medical care in hospital.
“Preliminary investigation by the police indicates that the victims were subjected to gross human violation during the ordeal,” said Mohlala.
He added that SAPS believes the assailants were Mozambican.
“Police are also convinced that the suspects could be foreign nationals from Mozambique, and they are currently working with role players like Interpol to ensure that no one escape from the might of the law.
“The investigators therefore seek the assistance of Mr Reuben Makwakwa (pictured) who can be of great help in solving this kidnapping saga.”
Police said the motive for the kidnapping is unknown at this stage. However, the SAPS is not ruling out possibilities of demands for ransom.
“Police urge Mr Makwakwa or anyone who knows where he can be located to immediately contact the police by calling the Crime Stop number at 08600 10111 or send information via the My SAPS App. All received information will be treated as confidential and callers may opt to remain anonymous,” said Mohlala.
Last week, IOL reported that a close collaboration between members of the SA Police Service and SA National Defence Force (SANDF) resulted in the rescue of seven family members, including toddlers, who had been kidnapped in Mpumalanga.
The seven were rescued before their vehicle could be smuggled into neighbouring Mozambique, through the Lebombo borderline.
“According to information, an elderly woman was taking her six family members, two teenage boys, two teenage girls and two toddlers, to their grandparents' place at Block C from their residence in KaMaqhekeza on Tuesday night, at about 8pm,” Mohlala narrated at the time.
As the family was about to leave the house, four armed assailants allegedly arrived on the scene and forced the family members into their family vehicle, a Toyota Fortuner.