By Independent Online
PRETORIA: Police in Mpumalanga have arrested a 43-year-old undocumented Zimbabwean national, and charged him with kidnapping, extortion, armed robbery, and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said the 43-year-old was arrested at Botleng, Delmas, on Friday.
“The suspect was arrested hours after a 32-year-old victim was kidnapped and a ransom demanded for his release,” Mohlala said.
According to SAPS information, the 32-year-old victim visited a friend in Botleng on Thursday.
“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,” said Mohlala.
While the friend was still shocked from what he heard on the phone, he also heard someone over the phone demanding ransom for his friend’s release.
“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,” said Mohlala.
A team of investigators, including officers from SAPS crime intelligence and hostage negotiators, was assembled.
“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.
“Investigation was intensified and led police to a location in Botleng where the suspect fitting the description given by the victim was found,” said Mohlala.
Police said the suspect had in his possession the victim’s mobile phone and an unlicensed Norinco 9mm pistol with the serial numbers filed off. He also had 22 live rounds of ammunition.
“Investigation further revealed that the firearm was also reported missing during a business robbery that took place in Pretoria in 2020.
“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,” said Mohlala.
The arrested suspect will appear in the Delmas Magistrate’s Court on Monday.