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The South African Police (SAPS) on Saturday announced the arrest of a 37 year old man believed to have masterminded a spate of kidnappings in Maputo, and in the South African province of Gauteng.
According to an SAPS press release, last Wednesday the Crime Intelligence National Anti-Kidnapping Task Team arrested the alleged mastermind and three of his accomplices in Brackenhurst, just outside Johannesburg.
At this house the police found what they called “three high powered vehicles”, 6.000 tablets of the illegal drug Mandrax, a receipt for the sale of a 1.9 million rand (about 124,000 US dollars) property in the town of Bryanston, assorted luxury brand clothing, and an unspecified amount of cash.
The police believe all these goods were acquired from the ransoms paid by the families of the gang’s victims.
On Thursday another suspected member of the gang was arrested in Benoni, and another luxury vehicle was seized.
One of the high profile kidnappings carried out by the gang, according to the police, was that of Jahyr Abdula, the son of Salimo Abdula, chairperson of the Business Confederation of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP). Salimo Abdula had previously been the chairperson of the Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA), and chairperson of the board of the Mozambican branch of the mobile phone company. Vodacom.
According to the SAPS, Jahyr Abdula and a friend were kidnapped on 15 October last year. The kidnappers were using a BMW sedan fitted with blue lights and sirens. Law enforcement officers and private security agents rescued Abdula’s friend that same day, but Jahyr Abdula himself was not freed until 26 November, following a police operation that found him on a farm near Heidelburg.
None of the suspects have yet been named. The SAPS says it is “confident that the Task Team is closing in on several syndicates responsible for kidnapping for ransom cases”.
#sapsHQ On 24/02, the team continued with the tracing of another suspect who is part of this syndicate. The team kept observation at an identified address in Benoni and moved in to arrest the suspect. Another high performance vehicle was seized and the suspect was apprehended ME pic.twitter.com/Bd9yPbegGe
— SA Police Service 🇿🇦 (@SAPoliceService) February 26, 2022