In a remarkable display of teamwork and coordination, the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) recently joined forces to rescue a family of seven who had been kidnapped in Mpumalanga.
Thanks to their swift action, the victims, including two toddlers, were rescued before the kidnappers could smuggle them into neighbouring Mozambique through the Lebombo borderline.
The incident occurred on Tuesday night when an elderly woman was driving six family members, including two teenage boys, two teenage girls, and two toddlers, to their grandparents’ place in Block C. As they were about to leave their residence in KaMaqhekeza, four armed assailants suddenly appeared and forced them into their family vehicle, a Toyota Fortuner.
The assailants then drove the terrified family into the nearby bushes, heading towards the border, while tampering with the vehicle to disable its tracking device. Fortunately, the woman’s husband became concerned when she did not return home as expected and promptly reported the situation to the police.
The police, in turn, immediately activated the SANDF to assist in the rescue operation. Working together, the combined team successfully located the victims and recovered the stolen vehicle in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, the kidnappers managed to escape and evade arrest upon realizing that the authorities were closing in.
During the rescue operation, the police made an unexpected discovery. Two additional stolen vehicles, a Toyota Hilux double cab bakkie, and a Toyota GD-6 double cab bakkie, were found abandoned at different locations along the border. The first vehicle had been reported stolen in KaMhlushwa, while the second had been stolen in Garsfontein, Gauteng Province.
As of now, the suspects remain at large, and the police are urging anyone with information on their whereabouts to come forward. They can contact the Crime Stop number at 08600 10111 or provide information through the My SAPS App. All information will be treated as confidential, and callers may choose to remain anonymous.
Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, the provincial commissioner of police in Mpumalanga, commended the SAPS and SANDF for their outstanding collaboration in saving the lives of the victims and recovering the stolen vehicles. The successful operation serves as a testament to the dedication and professionalism of the men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve the community.