A 27 year old woman who replied to an online advert offering employment was held hostage by five men who demanded a ransom for her release on Friday 14 February 2020.
At approximately 20:22 Reaction Unit South Africa received a call from the family of the north coast resident requesting assistance after they were contacted by a man stating that he was holding the job seeker hostage. The call was made from the victim’s cell phone. The caller demanded R5000 to be deposited into an E-wallet account. The victim was allowed to speak to her family for a brief period before the call was terminated.
Reaction Officers proceeded to the callers residence and on arrival were informed that the victim responded to an advert on Facebook that listed jobs for the public. The only information they could provide at that stage was that the victim had left home during the early parts of the morning to catch a taxi to Pinetown where she was expected to meet a woman who promised her a job. While Reaction Officers were interviewing the family the kidnappers made several calls to her brother demanding the money be paid immediately or they would kill the woman.
While RUSA Officers were organizing a search party with other law enforcement agencies the family received another call from the victim. She stated that she managed to escape and fled to a nearby residence where she was assisted by a woman who allowed her to use her phone. RUSA contacted the Pinetown SAPS and provided the females exact location. Police proceeded to the residence and found the victim in a state of panic but unharmed. She was transported back to her residence at 04:00.
She explained to Officers that after she alighted from a taxi in Mariannridge near Pinetown she was approached by a man who knew who she was and that she had responded the advert posted on the social media site. He asked her to follow him to where the interview would be conducted. As they approached a dense bush which he convinced her was a short cut to the interview they were joined by four other men who grabbed her and tied her up.
The men threatened to rape her until she informed them that she was on her menstrual cycle. Two of the suspects were confirmed to be armed with firearms. The woman was gagged and held for several hours while the suspects used her cell phone to contact her family to pay a ransom for her release.
She managed to remove her restraints and flee to a nearby residence after the suspects left her alone for a brief period.
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