Mahikeng community leader says kidnapping cases are often not taken seriously by police

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A community leader and activist, says cases of kidnapping are often not taken seriously by Mahikeng police. Thato Molosankwe, says a syndicate that kidnaps’ children for possible trafficking, is operating in the area.

His comments come after a 17-year-old girl went missing for a week last month.

The girl who was allegedly kidnapped has temporarily stopped going to school as she is unable to cope following the incident. She was allegedly lured by a friend, who offered to take her out for lunch at a pub in the Mahikeng CBD. But, when they arrived, she was startled to see her friend behaving in an odd manner and talking to a group of men in a car parked outside the pub.

While the 17-year-old was confused as to what her friend was up to, she says a group of people at the pub called her and warned her about her friend, saying she works with a gang that kidnaps and traffics people. She says she tried fleeing the scene by walking back home, but the men followed her.

To her surprise, the people who warned her about the alleged kidnappers, grabbed her and kept her locked up in a shack for a week with no food and water. Her sister – whose identity is withheld to protect the victim says she was eventually found and has since been unable to return to school due to fear and trauma.

“Our child has even stopped going to school. She was told to stay at home for some time to recover from the trauma because she was not coping due to the kidnapping incident because of the Nigerians. At home, we are also living in fear because we keep asking ourselves if they won’t come home and attack us because they told my sister that they know where she stays.”

Police service appalling

The family says when they reported the matter to the police, the service was appalling. They say they were shocked that the police knew the house needed to be searched before they were told. What shocked them, even more, was the friendly relationship between the police and the alleged suspects.

“We went to the police station to ask them to accompany us to go and search for our child. We arrived at the house but to our surprise, the police did not even ask which house we were going to – he just went straight to that house. When we arrived he started calling the woman by her name and said ‘Mamorakile, open. It’s me’. We did not find the child there and the police officer told us that we should leave because we’re wasting his time.”

She says she then pleaded with the police officer to drop them at the police station again to seek further help, and he refused.

The community leader, Molosankwe, has since taken it upon himself to highlight such cases in Mahikeng. Following the incident, he pleaded with the police to take cases of kidnapping more seriously.

“This issue is very concerning. So, we have asked police intelligence to take this matter seriously. We have even created a page on Facebook page called ‘Crime in Mahikeng and missing persons report’ where we ask people to share stories of their loved ones who go missing so that we can see how we help them.”

North West Police Spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone, says they are gathering information on the matter.

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