Cops uncover ‘abduction syndicate’

2011-05-25 11:11

Mpumalanga police are investigating a new kind of crime in which perpetrators abduct villagers and ask for ransom from their families.

The police have already nabbed nine suspects since last month for allegedly abducting people in the deeply rural Naas village near Komatipoort. Naas is in Mpumalanga’s Nkomazi region, which is a poverty stricken area on the border with Mozambique and Swaziland.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Leonard Hlathi said police were still investigating the matter and have not yet been able to determine why this kind of crime happened in this particular village.

Hlathi said six suspects were arrested in March, while another three were arrested last week. The two groups, he said, have not been linked as being part of a syndicate.

“It is the first time that we experience this kind of crime, which seems to be escalating in that particular area. We are still surprised,” Hlathi said.

“We can’t at this stage tell why this kind of crime happens in Naas, and are hoping that more victims will come forward.

We’re appealing to those who may have fallen prey to this unlawful act to come forward and lay charges as we believe additional accusations will assist us to get to the bottom of this matter,” he added.

The suspects who were arrested last week were two males, aged 46 and 53, and a 19-year-old woman.

Hlathi could not however release their names and details relating to their first court appearance because the investigating officer was unreachable.

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