Three incidents of kidnapping of young children have been recorded in Gauteng since the beginning of the month. This was confirmed in a statement by Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane on Thursday, in which she expressed concern about the incidents. "As the country marks the festive season period, safety of Gauteng citizens continues to be a matter of priority to the Gauteng Provincial Government. I am deeply saddened about the recent incidents of kidnapping and extortion involving young children. "These incidents happened within a space of three days and the modus operandi for demanding ransom seems to have been the driving force behind them," Nkosi-Malobane said.She said that a 17-year-old boy had been kidnapped on the December 1, in Kromiet Street, Croydon, while a six-year-old boy was kidnapped on the December 2 in Clayville, Extension 34. On December 3, three boys - aged between eight and nine years - were kidnapped.In all three incidents, the children were held for ransom and only released once the families had made payments to the kidnappers.READ: Rise in kidnapping of women and children is concerningNkosi-Malobane added that all the children had been returned safely to their families after they were taken for a medical checkup and that they showed no signs of injuries.The department has since instructed provincial police to assign a team of detectives to hunt down the criminals."It is very important that these criminals must be brought to the book swiftly to face the full might of the law. Children are supposed to be protected by everyone in society," Nkosi-Malobane said.The MEC urged parents to be cautious ahead of the festive season."We cannot fold our arms and allow criminals to instill fear in parents and to deprive children of their rights to live, play freely in their communities."