.ohannesburg – The brother of alleged kidnapping mastermind Faizal Charloos was arrested by law enforcement officials after a successful sting operation on Sunday. The arrests come after a spate of kidnappings have terrorised Johannesburg South.
Luqman Kazi’s kidnapping was the first of many that have been linked to Charloos. According to Faizel Patel, Senior Digital Journalist at The Citizen, police followed various tip offs which lead to the arrest of Charloos. Many others who are allegedly linked to the kidnappings have also been arrested.
“We had a CPF (Community Police Forum) member, although charges have been subsequently dropped against him. But his son-in-law and daughter have been remanded in custody. Wednesday and Thursday last week, there was another operation where seven other people were arrested also with alleged links to Charloos. Last night there was another operation in Lenasia and according to a source who spoke to The Citizen, Charloos’ brother was arrested as well.”
Police also attempted to apprehend wanted suspect Irfaan Adamjee also known as “Muffins”. A high-speed pursuit which involved the Johannesburg Metro Police Department, South African Police Service flying squad and community patrollers ensued when Adamjee’s car was spotted but he managed to evade arrest.
Link to Mozambican kidnapping syndicate
The kidnappings follow the same pattern as those that were taking place in Mozambique a few years back. It has been dubbed as “kidnapping for ransom” by the SAPS. The method is to target high profile people and kidnap them. If they can’t be reached, then their immediate relatives are taken and released only when the ransom is paid. Patel fears that those who were part of that syndicate in Mozambique have found their way to South Africa.
“The nationality of Faizal Charloos, he’s actually a Mozambican national who’s living in South Africa … There were a lot of allegations that the Mozambican Armed Wing was involved [in the kidnappings] and they had access to government officials. It seems in my opinion that some of those people that were sort of profiled players in that spate of kidnappings there have now filtered to South Africa.”
So far thirteen people have been arrested in connection to the kidnapping syndicate. Charloos’ brother being the latest arrest according to Patel, his sources indicate that many more arrests will be made.
There are also alleged links to the Lenasia CPF. Residents have called for the chairman of the CPF, Ebrahim Asvat, to be investigated after these alleged links were made public knowledge. The CPF were involved in assisting the police in apprehending Adamjee and Charloos’ brother. This is seen as them trying to clear their name, said Patel.
“They don’t want the stigma to be attached to their name because one of the things that Lenasia is plagued with is a high crime rate. And the CPF plays an important role to ensure that the community is kept safe. I think they are tired at the moment and want to ensure that this kidnapping syndicate is actually brought
According to Patel, one of the suspects has turned state witness. This could provide police with a lot more information on the syndicate, how they operate and who else if left out there.
Charloos, known to be an intimidating character, has spurred community members to sign petitions in an attempt to have his bail denied. They fear he will use his influence to sway those in charge, said Patel.
“There’s also alleged reports of his alleged links with corrupt police officials and court officials. I think there was a petition just when he was arrested, which was floating around on various social media accounts. [Asking that] bail should be denied for Charloos and his accomplices for fear that if he’s released on bail then he will intimidate witnesses. He will also intimidate court officials and magistrates. He’s allegedly reported to have done this. People have said that when he’s out, case dockets allegedly disappear.”
Charloos gave up his right for bail. His wife along with the CPF member’s daughter-in-law and son had their bail application rejected.
Police Spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Netshiunda confirmed that Ismail Salmo Mbendane (44), Imraan Sahim (42) and Bilal Mia (36) appeared in court on 14 April on charges of extortion connected to the spate kidnappings. They were taken in custody and their case is postponed to 22 April. The same team is responsible for the arrest of a 34-year-old man, believed to be Charloos’ brother. He was was found in possession of a weapon and ammunition. He will appear in court soon.
Faizel Patel from The Citizen spoke with Ashraf Garda: