Cape Town – While emotions remain high in Gatesville more than a week after 8-year-old Abirah Dekhta disappeared, a Chinese woman who was kidnapped last month has been found.
The 27-year-old wife of a Blue Bottle Liquor manager in Bellville was reunited with her family last week.
Three armed men approached a security guard at the liquor store in Strand Street on October 19 and allegedly threatened him with a firearm.
They then proceeded to forcefully remove the woman from the premises and fled the scene in a VW Polo.
“Kindly be advised the woman was released. No arrests have been made and the investigation continues,” police spokesperson FC Van Wyk said.
It is not clear yet if any ransom was demanded for her release.
Meanwhile, hundreds of anxious Gatesville residents joined by business owners marched to the police station in Athlone at the weekend demanding the urgent safe return of Abirah and arrests to be made in kidnapping cases to curb the incidents.
“We want Abirah. We want justice. Bring back Abirah!” the protesters chanted.
The Rylands Primary School pupil was abducted on the morning of November 4 in her lift club vehicle that was waiting for another pupil.
The father is a cellphone businessman and the family is originally from India.
“The number of people who marched has demonstrated how many lives have been touched by this incident. This is a very difficult time for the family, the parents are struggling to eat,” a close friend of the family said.
Neighbourhood watch chairperson Fawzia Veerasamy said while it gives hope to hear that another person who was kidnapped has been released to her loved ones, it was discouraging that no one had been arrested.
“The incident happened in broad daylight and people came forward to share all information so by now we would have thought that the child would be reunited with her family.
“Residents don’t know who could be next so there is just anxiety and fear. People want assurance that police are implementing measures to put an end to this.
“However, it’s just quiet. They don’t want to know what task teams are there; they want to hear that perpetrators are in jail to send a strong message,” said Veerasamy.
Van Wyk confirmed on Sunday that the child was not yet reunited with her family.
“This office can confirm that a group of concerned community members met with a senior police member of Athlone SAPS last night at about 7pm at the corners of Klipfontein and Jan Smuts Roads to ask about any new developments regarding the missing 8-year-old child. Investigation and search continues,” he said.
Hawks spokesperson Zinzi Hani said the investigation was at a sensitive stage and no information could be divulged.
Anyone with any information on both incidents can anonymously contact Crime Stop at 086 0010 111 or SMS Crime Line at 32211.