Kidnapped teens reunited with family after 20 days

Zahraa Mohammed and Bataviya Mohammed

Zahraa Mohammed and Bataviya Mohammed

Published Mar 26, 2024


Two North West cousins, who were kidnapped on March 6, were safely reunited with their families after they were held hostage for 20 days.

A syndicate, comprising seven suspects, were arrested by police and charged with two counts of kidnapping and extortion.

The cousins, Zahraa Mohammed, 17, and Bataviya Mohammed, 19, were driving from Bataviya’s home in Brits going to school in Hartbeespoort Dam when they were kidnapped.

The cousins were found on Monday evening in a house at New Stands, Klipgat, near Winterveldt and Mabopane in Pretoria.

Police spokesperson, Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone, said in the process of locating the victims, police arrested six suspects.

“The seventh suspect, Humphrey Martin, 48, was arrested in the early hours of March 8 at Naturena, in Johannesburg,”  Mokgwabone said.

Martin appeared in the Brits Magistrate’s Court on March 11, 18, and 25. He remains in custody and is expected to reappear on April 8 for formal bail application.

“The victims were examined by paramedics at Klipgat police station's Victims Friendly Room and found to be in a good state of health, except for exhaustion and trauma. They were safely reunited with their families without any visible injuries,” Mokgwabone added.

“It was reported at the time of the incident that the suspects bumped the victims' car from the front with a maroon Audi A3, to force it to stop.

“The same Audi A3 was reportedly stolen in Grasfontein in March. It is further alleged that two armed men got out of a white Volkwagen Polo GTI and ordered the cousins to get into it (the Polo). The driver of the Audi got into a Toyota Hilux allegedly driven by Martin.

“The suspects then fled from the crime scene with the victims. The Mercedes Benz vehicle and the Audi A3 were found at the crime scene.”

Provincial commissioner of police in North West, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, commended  the multi-disciplinary team comprising Provincial Organised Crime, Head Office Anti-Kidnapping Unit, Bojanala Platinum Sub-District 2 Task Team and Brits Crime Intelligence for working tirelessly to locate the cousins.

Kwena expressed his gratitude to the multi-disciplinary team for their relentless efforts, which led to the finding of the victims and the arrest of the suspects.

“The arrests will, without doubt, sound a warning that those who commit crimes have no place to hide in society and will be exposed as it happened in this case,” he said.

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