South African police have broken up an extortionist ring in Johannesburg, rescuing 11 Ethiopians from suspected fellow Ethiopians who kidnapped and hid them in a storage facility in the commercial city, police spokesperson Andrè Traut said on Saturday.Traut said two Ethiopian suspects “who were guarding the storage facility at the time of the raid, were arrested and detained”, and are expected to appear in court on Monday before being taken to Western Cape province for trial.
“The circumstances surrounding the extortion and kidnapping cases are still under investigation and the identities of the victims will not be disclosed at this premature stage,” he said.
Five of the victims were kidnapped in different parts of the Western Cape province by fellow Ethiopians, the official said.
“The unrelenting efforts of Western Cape police detectives to fight extortion in this province were rewarded with the arrest of two suspects during the early hours of yesterday morning in Meadowlands in Johannesburg,” Traut said.
He said an investigation into the circumstances of a kidnapping case where an Ethiopian national was kidnapped in “Harare” in Cape Town’s Khayelitsha Township on 16 September “led detectives to Gauteng Province where they continued their search for the victim following demands for ransom for the victim’s safe return.”
“In Gauteng, our detectives partnered with Meadowlands Police and conducted a raid at a storage facility in Hennessey Street in Meadowlands where a total of the 11 kidnapped Ethiopian males were found.”
Five of the 11 victims are from the Western Cape, two of them were kidnapped in “Harare”, while two were from Paarl and another from Worcester district.
“The other six victims come from other provinces, and they have been reunited with their respective families,” Traut said.