Runners show support for kidnapped woman
Durban - In a show of defiance and solidarity with the woman kidnapped while jogging in Glenwood, people turned out in their numbers to walk the streets of the Durban suburb on Thursday evening.
Among the residents, serious runners and regular joggers who joined in was the woman at the centre of Monday’s kidnapping drama, with a message of determination: she will “definitely” be back on the road training.
About 50 people turned out for the awareness walk from the Stella Sports Club, some wearing bright pink shirts to make the point that women should be free to jog or walk without fear and needed to be protected.
The 37-year-old woman had been running in Lena Ahrens (Manning) Road when she was forced into a car at gunpoint.
A Gauteng financial adviser who had seen the abduction and followed the car at a distance, raised the alarm and alerted security and police.
The woman was taken to her home nearby, where her family were robbed. When private security officers arrived, the kidnappers used the woman, an accountant and mother-of-two, as a hostage and human shield, speeding off amid gunfire. She was abandoned unharmed in Chesterville.
The victim and her husband took part in the walk, but asked not to be photographed, fearing they may be attacked again.
On Thursday, the couple who also asked not to be named because they feared for their safety, thanked the Glenwood community and the police for the support they had shown.
“We are overwhelmed that the people care enough to come out and support us in this way.
“We are touched by what the Umbilo SAPS and the community have done. We are still nervous to come out, but the positive turnout gives us hope,” said the husband.
The couple are avid runners, especially the woman, who her husband said could better be described as a runner than a jogger.
The couple said they would get back on the road, but were not certain when that would be.
“We will definitely get back on the road because my wife is a good runner. I know the newspapers called her a jogger, but she’s definitely more than that,” he smiled.
They would run in groups in future and said the experience of Monday morning was “nerve -racking”.
Umbilo police spokeswoman, Lieutenant Pumzile Makaula, said the police championed people’s rights to a safer community and said the walk was a show of support for the woman.
Makaula said police had shared tips with the runners to help them avoid becoming isolated while running on the road. She advised runners not to run in the dark, not to run with earphones on and always to run in groups or pairs.
They were assured that Crime Prevention Unit police patrolled the area, but were not necessarily in full police uniform or driving marked cars.
Addressing the runners, the police thanked the witness who reported the kidnapping and encouraged people to not turn a blind eye to crime because this put others’ lives in danger.
“Your safety is our concern. We need you to help to make sure this community is safe for all,” said one officer.
The Daily News spoke to a group of women during the walk who said they were happy the police were getting involved.
“The fact that the police are willing to do something is a step in the right direction. Any sort of crime prevention is necessary and we are happy about that,” one said.
They said they had taken to heart the tips shared and were comforted by the regular police patrols.