SANDF assists SAPS with borderline hostage rescue

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Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), working with the South African Police Service (SAPS), have rescued seven kidnapped family members before their vehicle could be smuggled into Mozambique.

The SAPS said an elderly woman was about to take six family members (two teenage boys, two teenage girls and two toddlers), to their grandparents in KaMaqhekezaon near Komatipoort on 26 September when four armed suspects forced them into their family vehicle, a Toyota Fortuner. They were held hostage, then driven into the bushes towards the border line with Mozambique by their assailants. The assailants are believed to have disconnected the vehicle’s tracking device.

“The victim’s husband became suspicious when his wife failed to return home as expected. He later discovered that his family was in trouble after he was unable to get hold of them and immediately reported to the police who also activated SANDF,” said SAPS Brigadier Selvy Mohlala.

The SAPS and SANDF jointly rescued the victims and the vehicle was recovered in the early hours of 27 September, but the suspects escaped when they saw law enforcement catching up with them.

“Surprisingly, during their rescue two extra vehicles were also recovered nearby at various locations along the border line. The cars recovered included a Toyota Hilux double cab bakkie, which was reported stolen at KaMhlushwa, as well as a Toyota GD-6 double cab bakkie which was reported stolen in Garsfontein (Gauteng Province),” the SAPS said.

The suspects are still at large.

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, expressed his appreciation at the teamwork displayed by the SAPS in conjunction with the SANDF, especially for saving the lives of the victims and the recovery of the vehicles.