Four suspects to make court appearance for kidnapping two children for ransom

Four people have been arrested for the kidnapping of an 11 and 14-year-old. They allegedly tried to illicit ransom money from the children's businessman father. Police say there is still one suspect at large.

Four suspects allegedly involved in the kidnapping of an 11 and 14-year-old during a house robbery in Siyabuswa, Mpumalanga were expected to appear in court on Monday, police said on Sunday.

The assailants, aged between 21 and 50, allegedly kidnapped the children for ransom money.

"The investigation by police revealed that the children, whose father is a businessman, were kidnapped by four armed men, who then took them to a house in Limpopo. The suspects also made off with personal belongings including a Nissan Livina as well as an undisclosed amount of cash," police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said.

He said the stolen vehicle was found abandoned near the victims' house and the children were transported in a different vehicle.

"The suspects then contacted the kids' parents and demanded a ransom for their release. The matter was reported to the police and a manhunt ensued where a team comprising of various formations within the police was activated."

Hlathi said they received information about the whereabouts of the children on Friday.

"Team members responded to the information… whereupon four suspects were arrested and the children were safely found. The suspects were found in possession of a firearm as well as some belongings believed to have been taken during the robbery. A grey Hyundai Elantra (sedan) which was used by the men to carry out their evil plan was confiscated as well."

He said the suspects were expected to appear at the Mdutjana Magistrate's Court on Monday, where they faced charges of house robbery, kidnapping and unlawful possession of a firearm.

"Police cannot rule out any possibility of linking them to other cases," said Hlathi.

Mpumalanga provincial commissioner, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, commended police for the work done, but said one suspect was still at large.

"We urge the public to assist with information that could lead to the whereabouts of one outstanding suspect," he said.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the suspect can contact Detective Lieutenant Colonel Jan Phofele at 079 499 5244 or call the Crime Stop number 08600 1011, alternatively a tip-off can be dropped on the MySAPSApp that can be downloaded to any smartphone.

All information would be treated with confidentiality and callers may opt to remain anonymous.

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