‘He had the gun to my son’s head’

2009-06-24 00:00

“HE had his finger on the trigger, and the gun to my son’s head all the time. Anything could’ve happened. I asked them to just drop us off — they had what they wanted. But you could see they just wanted more.”

It has been five days since the ordeal, but the Durban father who was kidnapped along with seven members of his family hasn’t been able to shake the fear brought on by the incident.

Yesterday, The Witness reported that three men ambushed the 40-year-old, his wife, their three sons and two nephews in the driveway of his brother’s home, where they had been visiting on Fathers’ Day.

Naidu, who did not want his first name published because he fears for the safety of his family, was made to lie on the ground by an assailant carrying a knife while he was stripped of all valuable belongings.

His 20-year-old son (the other two are aged 10 and 16), meanwhile, was forced at gunpoint to get into the driver’s seat.

“We didn’t see them,” he said. “My son was looking for a CD in the front seat and I was packing the car. We always do this, so we were really surprised when they ran into the yard.”

Naidu said the first thought that crossed his mind was what the suspects would do to his family. “I had my sister-in-law’s kids with me — apart from my own kids …

“I kept telling them to leave us and take the car or whatever they wanted to, but they forced us into the car and at that point I didn’t know what they would do with us.”

Even en route to Imbali, to where his son was instructed to drive, Naidu kept pleading with the hijackers to take the car and leave them on the side of the road. “Every time I did, the one guy stabbed me with the knife to keep quiet. I had four or five holes in my arm.”

Along the way to Imbali, one of the suspects took over the wheel. Naidu used this opportunity to plead with them to let them go again. “They didn’t want to.”

Naidu said the only thing he could think of as a reason why they kept the family around was because they wanted to drain their bank accounts. “They kept asking for the pin codes. So I suspect that they wanted to draw all of our money.”

He added that they kept asking for their cellphones even though they had taken their phones from them at the house.

“That’s what made me think they were under the influence of something. They also smelt of alcohol … And he kept the gun to my son’s head the whole time he was driving. Imagine if he had just slipped or something.”

When they reached a roadblock outside Imbali, Naidu thought the driver “just maybe … would stop and run away, but he just accelerated faster”.

It was the subsequent chase by traffic officers that resulted in a crash into a ditch that brought the car to a halt. Then the suspects fled the scene.

“Thank God for the roadblock,” said Naidu. “Who knows where we would have landed up.”

Even though he is glad that his family made it out of the situation practically scratch-free, there are some emotional scars that may take time to heal.

“We haven’t been able to sleep or eat. We are adults and we’re not dealing with it; imagine what the little six-year-old [one of his nephews] is going through.”

Police Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said the suspects are still at large. Police have appealed to anyone with information to contact Detective Inspector Bheki Langa of the Mountain Rise Detective Service at 033 387 9614 or 082 529 2175. Callers wishing to report anonymously should phone Crime Stop at 08600 10111.

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