Education dept takes online child kidnapping threat seriously

2015-05-26 08:06
A screengrab of the Whatsapp message that was sent to a News24 employee. (News24)

A screengrab of the Whatsapp message that was sent to a News24 employee. (News24)

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Johannesburg - A message circulating on social media claiming that an unknown group of people will kidnap children throughout the country must be taken seriously, even if it turns out to be a hoax, the Department of Education said on Monday.

"We are not aware of that message, and we are not even aware of its origins," spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said.

"If it is already out there, even if it is a hoax, it is something to take seriously."

He said police would be notified.

"The safety of our learners is always important."

Police could not immediately comment on Monday. 

The Afrikaans message, distributed via WhatsApp, claims the news of this "group" was broadcast on all TV channels. 

It reads: "Weet nie of julle nuus gekyk het nie....daar is n noodberig uit vir van more af vir die hele volgende week....kinders gaan gesteel word en n groot aantal ook. Asb...moenie dat die kinders speel waar hulle nie 24/7 onder julle oe is nie. Daar gaan op skole...erwe ens toe geslaan word waar ouers dink hulle kidz is veilig. Moenie dit as n grap vat nie....dit was n noodberig op al die tv nuus kanale! Pas my kleintjies op...moenie waaksaamheid vir een oomblik verslap nie asb. Hulle gaan oral in die land toeslaan. Asb! Sprei die nuus sover jy kan om alle ouers op ALERT te sit!"

This translated as: "Do not know if you have watched the news .... there is an emergency report out that from tomorrow for the whole week ... children will be stolen in large numbers. Please ... do not let children play where they are not being watched 24/7. Schools and yards will be struck where parents think their kids are safe. Do not take it as a joke .... it was an emergency report on all the TV news channels!....Take care of my little ones... don't let your guard down for one moment. They will strike throughout the country. Please! Spread the news as far as you can to put all parents on ALERT!"

- Have you received this message? E-mail News24 reporter Ahmed Areff and let him know.
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