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 rescue 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,” Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala narrated.
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.
“They were held hostage, then driven into the bushes towards the borderline by the assailants who worked on the vehicle in what is believed to be disconnecting the tracking device,” said Mohlala.
He said the woman’s husband became suspicious when his wife did not come back home as expected.
“He somehow discovered later that his family was in trouble after failing to get hold of them, and immediately reported to the police who also activated the army (SANDF). The team jointly managed to rescue the victims from the bushes and the vehicle was recovered in the early hours of Wednesday morning,” said Mohlala.
The kidnappers managed to escape and evaded arrest when they noticed the police arriving.
“Surprisingly, during the rescue, two extra vehicles were also recovered nearby at various locations along the borderline. The cars recovered included, a Toyota Hilux double cab bakkie which was reported stolen at KaMhlushwa, as well as a Toyota (Hilux) GD-6 double cab bakkie which was reported stolen in Garsfontein, Gauteng Province,” said Mohlala.
“The suspects are still at large and police urge anyone with information on their whereabouts to call the Crime Stop number at 08600 10111 or send information via My SAPS App. All received information will be treated as confidential and callers may opt to remain anonymous.”
Meanwhile, provincial commissioner of police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has appreciated the team work executed by the SAPS in conjunction with the SANDF, in saving the lives of the victims and recovering the stolen vehicles.