Crime/28 September 2023, 20:34pm / Staff Writer
Police rescued a family of seven individuals, which consisted of two toddlers and four teenage boys and girls, near the Mozambique border. Additionally, the police recovered the family’s Toyota Fortuner and two Toyota Hilux vehicles: Image SAPS
By Staff Writer: In a daring pre-dawn operation, members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) in collaboration with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), rescued seven kidnapped family members, including two toddlers, before they could be smuggled across the border into Mozambique.
The drama unfolded on Tuesday night when an elderly woman was transporting her six family members – two teenage boys, two teenage girls, and two toddlers – to their grandparents’ home in Block C from their residence in KaMaqhekeza. As they were about to depart, four armed assailants allegedly stormed the scene, forcing the family into their vehicle, a Toyota Fortuner, and drove them into the bushland near the Lebombo borderline.
“The assailants held the family hostage and worked on the vehicle, seemingly to disconnect the tracking device,” explained Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.
The woman’s husband, growing suspicious when his family did not return home as expected, discovered his family was in peril. It was he who alerted the authorities, leading to the activation of a joint SAPS and SANDF rescue mission.
“The team managed to rescue the victims from the bushes and recover the vehicle in the early hours of Wednesday morning,” Mohlala reported. The assailants, however, noticing the arrival of the police, managed to escape and remain at large.
In a surprising turn of events, Mohlala revealed that two additional vehicles were discovered abandoned in the vicinity. “The recovered cars, a Toyota Hilux double cab bakkie reported stolen in KaMhlushwa and a Toyota (Hilux) GD-6 double cab bakkie reported stolen in Garsfontein, Gauteng Province, were found at various locations along the borderline,” he said.
The police are appealing to the public for help in locating the suspects and are urging anyone with information to call the Crime Stop number at 08600 10111 or to send information via the My SAPS App. Callers may choose to remain anonymous and all information received will be treated confidentially.
The rescue operation has drawn praise from the provincial police commissioner of Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela. Applauding the successful collaboration between SAPS and SANDF, she stated, “Their teamwork resulted not only in saving lives but also in the recovery of stolen vehicles. This is a testament to our shared commitment to ensuring public safety.”