Cape Town – There was high emotion and tears in the Rylands community after news spread that kidnapped eight year-old Abirah Dekhta was found in Khayelitsha after being kidnapped two weeks ago.
Confirming the good news to Cape Argus, family friend Imdaad Harris said: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar (God is great). Yes, it’s true. She’s found, she’s here.”
Harris joined the family immediately after the news that the police had found the girl in a shack on Monday evening.
Harris said he was not able to say much except that the child was brought to the family by police.
Harris’s wife said the family was very emotional and not ready to speak to the media last night.
Police spokesperson Wesley Twigg said officers from various specialised units and City law enforcement officials using state-of-the art technology, located Abirah in a shack in Town Two, Khayelitsha.
“The intelligence-led integrated operation saw forces descending on the township where the young girl was found,” Twigg said.
Abirah was taken to a doctor for a medical assessment soon after being found. Police are questioning several people in the hopes of apprehending the perpetrators
Earlier in the day, Harris joined a group of over 100 people who marched from Hazel Road to Vanguard Drive, Rylands, holding placards calling for the safe return of kidnapped Abirah.
The girl was snatched just after 7am on November 4 at Amber Court, along Yusuf Gool Boulevard in Rylands, while in her scholar transport.
The vehicle was travelling along College Road after collecting her, then parked at Amber Court to pick up another child.
The driver of the vehicle was accosted and robbed by two men. Another young boy was in the vehicle with Abirah at the time.
After the kidnapping, the community marched across various areas, in a show of unity with the Grade 2 Rylands Primary School pupil’s family.
Gatesville Neighbourhood Watch chairperson Fowzia Veerasamy said at the march: “The abductors were driving a white Nissan twin cab bakkie. They boxed the lift club driver in so he couldn’t move.”
Close family members of Abirah also took part in the march.
The Dekhta family owns a cellphone shop in Rylands. It is unclear if a ransom was paid.
Last night, police could not confirm the girl’s release and said information would be shared later today.
News of the girl’s safe return quickly spread on social media with hundreds of people commenting “alhamdulillah” (praise be to God).