Kidnapped boy — a mom’s hope

2012-04-28 00:00

A SOUTH African mother is hoping her 12-year-old son, who was snatched in broad daylight in Malaysia, will be back home for her birthday next week.

Nayati Moodliar was kidnapped by three men in a black car while he was making his way to school in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, yesterday.

“It will be my birthday on Monday, and we hope that he will be back with us by then,” his mother, Janice Smith, told The Witness from Kuala Lumpur.

“It will be the best birthday present ever to have him back with us on that day.

“My husband and I are staying strong for each other, and just hoping for the best,” she said.

They were not sure if it was an abduction or a kidnapping for ransom, as they had not been contacted by anyone.

Smith said the South African embassy had made contact.

“They told us they would leave the matter in the hands of the Dutch consulate because that is where Nayati was born, but we did receive a call from the South African ambassador to Malaysia, and he will be visiting us tomorrow.”

She said the Dutch consulate was talking with officials from the Kuala Lumpur police.

“We don’t know what they’re discussing, but we hope they can help in whatever way they can,” she said.

Nayati’s tearful father, Durban-born Sham Moodliar, made a passionate plea to the kidnappers in a press conference yesterday.

“Please return our son Nayati. He is our only son. He is a good boy and we need him back. We don’t want any trouble, we just want our son back. It’s not too late to let him go. Nayati will find his way home. Just drop him anywhere. We won’t press charges,” he said.

Moodliar said police had been notified within minutes after the kidnapping, and the news had gone viral on social networks.

The family feared the men who had taken Nayati would attempt to head to Thailand.

“We would like to see the involvement of Interpol, and the Thai police,” he added.

The kidnapping, which was captured by CCTV cameras, happened in front of his classmates, at an international school that counts among its pupils the children of diplomats.

Nayati’s aunt in Cape Town, Anushia Moodliar, described him as “one of the most lovable little boys”.

“We don’t understand why anyone would want to do this,” she said.

“He is an average 12-year-old who likes cars and video games and plays all kinds of sports from soccer, cricket and rugby. He does judo and karate, and also plays the guitar.” She said the family had lived in the Netherlands for 11 years before moving to Malaysia two years ago.

“They were in South Africa just last year,” she said.

“He knows all of his family over here, and everyone thinks he’s a wonderful, beautiful boy.”

Smith’s sister, Caroline Swanepoel, repeated the plea for Nayati’s safe return.

“Just bring him back in one piece. He is a good boy,” she said when contacted by The Witness.

Because of the distance, she said, they felt helpless, but would continue to support the family.

“Their friends and family are rallying around them,” Swanepoel said.

“My sister and her husband are very level-headed people, and they’ve dealt with all of this very well,” she said.

“This is a terrible thing to happen.”

Moodliar works for a management consultancy firm that has offices in Holland and Malaysia. He moved to Kuala Lumpur on a six-year contract with the firm in 2009, the Daily Mail online reported last night.

Moodliar’s cousin, Kash, told the newspaper the family believed the kidnappers may have snatched the boy in the belief he came from a wealthy family who would be willing to pay a ransom for his return.

“It looks like they might be after a ransom, but so far we have not heard anything. The family are not rich. Janice had given up work to become a housewife and they were only in Malaysia on a contract with Sham’s company.

“The snatch was very organised. Nayati was waiting for a friend, as he usually did, around the corner from the school. They would then walk in together.

“There was a man hanging around and then two others pulled up in the black car. A teacher was walking some way behind and saw what was going on.”

• lunga.biyela@witness.co.za

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