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Another truck driver kidnapped near Lebombo border post, kidnappers demand R50 000

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Another truck driver was kidnapped near the Lebombo border gate in Komatipoort, Mpumalanga.

The truck driver was kidnapped on Thursday, and his alleged kidnapper demanded R50 000 from his employer.

The police rescued him and arrested two alleged kidnappers.

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“A truck driver, 42, who became a victim of kidnapping has been rescued today, December 16, 2022 in Komatipoort. Two suspects aged 25 and 28 were nabbed. The truck driver from Zimbabwe was kidnapped on Thursday, December 15, 2022 around 03:00 near Lebombo Border in Komatipoort,” Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Brig Selvy Mohlala said.

He said, according to the report, the driver was kidnapped by armed suspects under the railway bridge in Komatipoort as he returned to the truck he was driving after buying some food.

“It is said that he was taken by his assailants at gunpoint into the bushes. It is further indicated that the suspects demanded a ransom of R50 000, to be deposited by his employer.”

He said various stakeholders including the National Intervention Unit (NIU), South African National Defence Force (SANDF), the Airwing, Crime Intelligence, Hostage Negotiators, K9 Unit, Detectives as well as the victim’s employer mobilised resources in order to ensure that he was brought back alive.

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“These members work tirelessly and due to the rainy weather conditions yesterday, December 15, 2022, the search had to be called off. The suspects contacted a colleague as well as the victim’s employer and further made some demands. Through collaboration that was made by the stakeholders, the victim was traced and found as well as the two suspects were cornered and apprehended.

“During their arrest, an air gun was found as well as four mobile phones in their possession. Further than that, a large sum of an undisclosed amount of cash was found in their possession. The members also found two knives in the possession of the two suspects,” he said.

The two were charged with kidnapping as well as possession of suspected stolen properties.

They are expected to appear at the Komatipoort Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

“Police cannot rule out the possibility that the two could have been involved in the previous kidnapping incident whereby a truck driver went through a similar ordeal in the past week. More suspects could be arrested as the investigation continues.”

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On December 8, a 33-year-old truck driver from the Eastern Cape was kidnapped and tortured allegedly by four armed men in Komatipoort near the Lebombo border while he was waiting to cross into Mozambique. The driver was waiting in a queue with other trucks when he alighted from the truck to get some food.

“As he was returning to the truck it is alleged that a group of about four male suspects armed with a firearm, pangas as well as knives, forcefully pulled him and then took him to the nearby bushes.

“Upon arrival in the bushes, it is further alleged that his hands and feet were tied and was allegedly assaulted by his assailants where he reportedly sustained some injuries to his head and other parts of his body. Further than that his mobile phone was allegedly used by the suspects to cash in from his bank account,” Mohlala said.

“Thereafter, the suspects allegedly ensured that the victim’s family transferred more cash for the sake of his freedom. Fortunately, on the same evening (December 8, 2022) the truck driver somehow got away after being left by the suspects with one of their own. It is said that he could barely walk but managed to make it to the road and got assistance from other truck drivers.”

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