Men charged with abduction of Wits student remanded in custody

A case against a group of men linked to the kidnapping of a Wits University student was on Monday postponed to October 9.

The men appeared in the Johannesburg magistrate’s court on charges of kidnapping and extortion.

They will spend the next nine days in police custody before they can make another appearance in court.

The group was arrested on September 21 following the abduction of an 18-year-old Wits University student.

The men are said to have lured the student to a date on Gridnr, a dating site for the LGBTQI+ community.

According to police, the suspects were arrested in Denver, eastern Johannesburg after they demanded R30 000 ransom from the student’s family.

During a raid at their hideout, the suspects were found in possession of knives and personal items belonging to their victim.

Police said when the student went missing, his roommate did not waste time to open a case of a missing person on the same day.

Police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe said at the time that the suspects were linked to at least 85 cases in which the LGBTQI+ community members were targeted for ransom payments.

Mathe said a cellular data investigation led police to an ATM at which one of the suspects was expected to withdraw the ransom money on the M2 Road.

After some time observing the area, the police placed the suspect under arrest as soon as he arrived.

“He then led the police to Denver men’s hostel, where the victim was found bound and unconscious,” Mathe said at the time.

Six more suspects were arrested and the victim was [rescued and] rushed to the hospital for medical attention.

Faith Mazibuko, Gauteng MEC for community safety, was quoted in the media calling on the public to be cautious of cybercriminals targeting unsuspecting individuals on social media platforms.

She also commended the team that rescued the university student.

“I would like to commend the heroic law-enforcement officials who carried out the rescue operation,” said Mazibuko.

“The successful apprehension of the suspects is a result of collaborative efforts by various law-enforcement agencies and private security companies.”


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