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Cape Town - A foreign father has told of his six-year “nightmare” as he travelled around the world in search of his “abducted” daughter.

The father’s hunt for his seven-year-old daughter finally ended in Cape Town last year. His name is being withheld in order to protect the identity of his child.

After tracking her down by accessing a data base of local schools, the father sought and was granted a court order for his daughter and her mother to remain in Cape Town. The mother too cannot be named as this could lead to the child being identified.

The father’s nightmare started in 2009 when his relationship with the mother ended.

The 40-year-old saw his daughter for the last time in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 23, 2010.

“After my daughter was abducted first from Turkey, and then from Holland, I was looking on my own.

Thanks to the invaluable help of a friend of mine, we found my daughter was living in South Africa around a year ago,” he said.

He came to Cape Town last year and met his country’s consul, who arranged meetings with Bertus Preller Attorneys and a private investigator.

“Unfortunately, the Children’s Act regulations, which aim to prevent kidnapping from South Africa, did not apply until June 2015, so we decided to wait.

We were worried about the fact that my daughter’s mother could run away.”

He said it was “unbelievable” that he could be granted a court order in South Africa after failing to obtain similar orders after locating his daughter in two European countries and Turkey.

“I’m so grateful to my lawyers.”

Preller said the mother’s work permit had recently expired and she would soon be returning to Holland.

“We are in the process of making an agreement for the father to see his daughter,” Preller said.

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Cape Times