Pretoria, South Africa – A 43-year-old Zimbabwean national has been arrested and charged with kidnapping, extortion, armed robbery, and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition in Mpumalanga, South Africa.
According to Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, the suspect was arrested in Botleng, Delmas on Friday after a 32-year-old victim was kidnapped and a ransom was demanded for his release.
“The suspect was arrested hours after a 32-year-old victim was kidnapped and a ransom demanded for his release,” said Mohlala.
The victim had visited a friend in Botleng the previous day and was abducted shortly after leaving their home. Ransom demands were made to the victim’s friends and a team of investigators, including SAPS crime intelligence and hostage negotiators, was assembled to locate the victim.
“He left (the friend’s place) just before 10pm. In less than 30 minutes, the friend allegedly received a call from his visitor’s phone who could be heard screaming that he has been abducted,” Mohlala added.
“After receiving that call, he reported to the police and it is alleged that more of the victim’s friends also reported to the police that they received strange calls with a demand of the ransom for the victim’s release,” Mohlala said.
The victim was eventually released and the suspect was found in possession of the victim’s phone and an unlicensed firearm with filed off serial numbers. The firearm had previously been reported missing during a business robbery in Pretoria in 2020.
“Yesterday, Friday, January 6, 2023, the victim arrived at the police station after he was released at about 3pm. He was interviewed and it was established that his mobile phone was still at the hands of the suspect,” Mohlala explained.
“Investigation was intensified and led police to a location in Botleng where the suspect fitting the description given by the victim was found,” Mohlala said.
“The suspect was arrested and charged with kidnapping, extortion, armed robbery and illegal possession of firearm and ammunition. Police cannot rule out possibilities of adding other charges as the investigation continues,” Mohlala added.
The suspect will appear in court on Monday.