Four-month-old baby among three abducted children

Two Zimbabwean women suspected to have abducted three children in SA are expected to make their second appearance in a Mpumalanga court on Wednesday.

This follows their court appearance on Tuesday and the matter was postponed to Wednesday for further investigation. The duo remained in custody.

Grace Gumbo and Mercy Tsoko were arrested on New year’s day following a case of abduction opened against them last month.

They will appear again at the Kriel magistrate’s court. They are facing charges of child abduction and contravention of the Immigration Act of South Africa.

According to the police, the children were abducted in Mpumalanga’s Thubelihle and Ogies.

Community tipped-off police

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said the arrests were thanks to a tip-off from community members. The two women were pretending to be caregivers that were roaming around Ogies with three babies.

Mohlala said the women were noticed by locals roaming the area with a four-month-old baby.

When the police found them, they realised that there was four-month-old girl. There was a also a baby boy who is believed to be three years old and another eight-month-old baby girl.

Mohlala said the police in Kriel swiftly responded to the information and managed to arrest the two female suspects.

“They were reportedly found with three children, two baby girls as well as one baby boy. The two suspects were reportedly cornered in one of the shacks in Ogies,” said Mohlala.

Need to locate families of the babies

“The boy child was abducted at Marble Hall in April 2023 and the eight-months-old is believed to have been abducted at Springs in September 2023 allegedly by the two women,” Mohlala added.

Police urge members of the community to assist in locating the families of the two other children, one from Marble Hall and the other from Springs.

Couple arrested for human trafficking

In December, a Zimbabwean couple that was arrested for trafficking of person after they were found traveling with approximately 14 children inside a bus from Gauteng to the Western Cape.

A suspicious passenger tipped off a police officer who in turn alerted his colleagues.

“On the day of the commission of the crime, a member of the community who alerted the police was riding in a bus from Gauteng destined for Western Cape,” said NPA spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane.

Meanwhile in 2023, the Border Management Authority (BMA) said 443 children were rescued when about 42 buses were intercepted at the Beit Bridge border post in Limpopo.

However, Zimbabwe Home Affairs Minister Raymond Kazembe Kazembe said it was not true that children from Zimbabwe were found in the buses.

He labeled the South African narrative as fictitious.

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