2 Zimbabwean women in serious trouble after kidnapping 3 children in South Africa

Mercy Tsoko

POLICE in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province have arrested two Zimbabwean women for abducting three children including a four-month-old infant in the Kriel area.

Grace Gumbo (26) and Mercy Tsoko (28) are expected to appear at the Kriel Magistrate’s Court on charges of child abduction and contravention of the Immigration Act.

They are accused of having committed the offence in Thubelihle in the Kriel area on December 28 last year. Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said the suspects were arrested on New Year’s day.

“They were arrested on Monday 01 January 2024 and it is in fact alleged that they abducted a total of three children, including the baby girl abducted on that Thursday (28 December 2023),” he said.

“Police got a tip-off from community members about the two women who were pretending to be caregivers that were roaming around with three babies.

“The police in Kriel swiftly responded to the information then managed to arrest the two female suspects and reportedly found them with three children, two baby girls and a boy.”

Brig Mohlala said the two were cornered in one of the shacks. He said it was discovered that, besides the four-month-old girl, there was a baby boy who is believed to be three years old and it is suspected that the child was also abducted at Marble Hall last April.

Another baby girl believed to be eight months old was found as well during the arrest of the two. This child is believed to have been abducted at Springs in September 2023 allegedly by the two women.

“The two suspects were charged with abduction as well as contravention of the Immigration Act.

Police cannot rule out the possibility of adding more charges against them as the investigation continues,” said Brig Mohlala.

“During their court appearance on Tuesday the matter was postponed pending further investigation and the two suspects remain in custody.

“As the police, we 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,” he said.

Brig Mohlala said those with information may also send it and that once received it will be treated as confidential and callers may opt to remain anonymous.

Mpumalanga’s provincial police commander, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela commended her team for their swift response which resulted in the arrest of the suspects.

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