Footage of the incident was widely shared on social media, making Dishal Sooku, 38, of Lenasia, famous in South Africa as well as abroad
Footage of the incident was widely shared on social media, making Dishal Sooku, 38, of Lenasia, famous in South Africa as well as abroad

How Dishal Sooku stopped a child being kidnapped in his restaurant

By Nadia Khan Time of article published Sep 18, 2020

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Durban - A MARTIAL arts expert used a choke technique to pin down a man who allegedly tried to kidnap a child from his restaurant in Johannesburg on Thursday.

Footage of the incident was widely shared on social media, making Dishal Sooku, 38, of Lenasia, famous in South Africa as well as abroad.

In the footage, Naseem Slamang, the accused, climbs over the railing and runs to a table where two women and a child are seated.

He grabs the 4-year-old girl by the neck and attempts to pull her out of her seat.

Sooku, who is seated nearby, gets up and tries to restrain him. He manages to pin Slamang to the ground until security guards approach.

The child appeared safe.

Sooku, who owns the pizza eatery at a centre in Roodepoort, said he was sitting in the outside eating area with his father.

“It was around 4.30pm and my dad told me that there was a man running towards the centre and he looked suspicious. Then, suddenly, the man hit something like a car window parked on the street. That is when everyone that was outside turned to look,” said Sooku.

“Moments later, he ran towards the restaurant and I stood up as he was about to climb over the railing. I first thought that he was going to try to steal a cellphone or a handbag but he went straight for the child and I reacted.”

He said his first and only instinct was to save the little girl.

“When I saw him reach for the child, I immediately knew that I needed to protect her. During that time, I knew I needed to control the situation and the attacker so that it would be much easier for someone to get the child far away from him.”

Sooku said he has trained in different types of martial arts over the years and owned his own academy, Bushindo Ju-Jitsu. He said his training helped because he used a martial arts technique to overpower the suspect.

“I trained under Jikishin Ju-Jitsu International South Africa for around 12 years and with jujitsu, it is about using your opponent’s force against him. So the lock I had him in is called a rear-naked choke, and by doing that, he (Slamang) let go of the child and was not able to escape It was an adrenalin rush, even after I released him.”

Sooku said he spoke briefly to the child’s family after the incident.

“The child was hysterical and was traumatised, and everyone was trying to calm her down. I have not spoken to the family since but I pray that she is okay.”

Sooku said he had wanted to remain anonymous but he was overwhelmed by the messages of gratitude.

“I didn’t want anyone to know who I was, or where I was from, as I did not know who this man was, or who he was working with. It could be a syndicate and they could come looking for me. But somebody pieced together my identity and, since then, I have been receiving messages of gratitude, support and love from around the world.

“I think for us, South Africans, during this whole Covid-19 pandemic and all the negativity, for many it has brought some positivity.”

He said that it was important for parents and children to learn some form of self-defence.

“Be it a seminar or a workshop, just to be able to try and protect yourself should you be faced with a situation such as this, you are able to do something and try to control it.”

Captain Kay Makhubele, a Gauteng police spokesperson, said a 24-year-old man had been arrested and charged with assault. He said the man appeared in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Phindi Mjonondwane, a Gauteng spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, said the accused was charged with assault GBH, attempted kidnapping and common assault.

“The matter was postponed to September 17 for verification of address. The accused was remanded back into custody.”

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