Kidnapped Brits cousins: Manhunt for suspects

Zahraa Mohamed

Zahraa Mohamed

Published Mar 6, 2024


Police have launched a manhunt following the kidnapping of Brits cousins, Mohamed Bataviya, 19, and Zahraa Mohamed, 17, this morning. The teenagers are said to have been kidnapped in front of a primary school in Brits.

Police spokesperson Amanda Funani said they had launched a search for three unknown suspects following the kidnapping.

Reports suggest that the cousins were travelling by car from Bataviya’s home to school in Hartbeespoort Dam when a maroon Audi A3 bumped into them.

Funani said: “Two armed men allegedly came out of the Audi A3 and ordered the cousins to get into a white Volkswagen Polo GTI and fled the scene with the victims inside.”

Police confirmed that the cousins' Mercedes Benz and the Audi A3 were found at the scene.

Yusuf Abramjee, an anti-crime activist, said kidnappings were increasing, especially in Gauteng, the Eastern and Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal.

He said this was evident from the recently released crime statistics which indicated that there was an average of 50 kidnappings a day in South Africa.

Mohamed Bataviya

“Many of them are kidnapped for ransom. That trend has been rising over the last few years."

Abramjee said there were two categories of kidnappings.

“One is so-called 'express kidnappings' where suspects take the victim over a day or two and rob them for a few thousand rand. They then let the victim go, or keep the person until his or her bank account is empty.

“The second category is the well-planned and orchestrated 'targeted kidnappings'. Here they go after shopkeepers or foreign nationals, including Indians, Somalians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Ethiopians."

But over the last few years, Abramjee said there was an increase in Indian South Africans being kidnapped.

“With regards to the Brits teenagers' kidnappings, this too was a well-planned, well-orchestrated kidnapping. This is possibly by a highly dangerous gang and it's clear they knew what they were targeting and what they wanted.

“This is a trend we are seeing in a number of kidnappings. These are possibly copycat syndicates that are involved and are dangerous or are established gangs that go after ransoms."

Police request anyone who may have information that can assist in the investigations, to contact the station commander of Brits police, Brigadier Ellen Emmanuel, at 082 447 7447. Alternatively, call Crime Stop on 08600 10111 or via the My SAPS app.