Seven more suspects nabbed in Lenasia over alleged links to kidnapping mastermind Faizal Charloos
It is believed the suspects are linked to the spate of kidnappings plaguing the south of Johannesburg
Picture for illustration purposes. Photo: Supplied
At least seven suspects have been arrested for intimidation, extortion and impersonating police officers in Lenasia.
The suspects were handcuffed in two separate sting operations on Wednesday and Thursday.
It is believed that the suspects are also allegedly linked to the spate of kidnappings plaguing the south of Johannesburg, including Lenasia.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Robert Netshiunda told The Citizen three of the suspects have already appeared in court.
“Ismail Salmo Mbendane (44), Imraan Sahim (42) and Bilal MIA (36) were arrested for extortion and have appeared before the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court. They were remanded in custody and their case was postponed to 22 April 2022. Another 60-year-old suspect was arrested today and will appear in court on Tuesday next week. They are facing charges of extortion,” said Netshiunda.
A source close to the investigation also told The Citizen police raided four residential addresses in Lenasia where a number of illegal firearms, ammunition and blue police lights were found.
“Police arrested three more suspects who will appear in court on Tuesday. The seventh suspect was arrested on Thursday afternoon at his Lenasia residential address, after police also linked the accused to the syndicate.”
Details of the seventh suspect have not been disclosed but the source confirmed that the elderly businessman had strong ties with Mozambique kidnapping kingpin, Faizel Charloos.
Charloos was arrested on 18 March with five other suspects, including his wife, Sadiya.
During the police raids in houses in Lenasia, Lawley, Brackenhurst and Benoni, which are allegedly linked to Charloos and three of his alleged accomplices, police rescued kidnapped Gauteng businessman, 34-year-old Luqman Kazi.
Two other suspects, 23-year-old Saadia Rasool and her 31-year-old husband Ahmed Kazi, were handcuffed by a multi-disciplinary team due to their alleged links to Charloos.
During their arrest, police seized approximately R395,000 believed to be ransom money from the families of victims.
Rasool’s father, 47-year-old Ebrahim Seedat, who is a senior member of the Lenasia Community Policing Forum (CPF), was also arrested, but charges against him were dropped.
Charloos’ wife and Rasool were denied bail in the Protea Magistrate’s Court earlier this month while all the male suspects abandoned their opportunity to apply for bail when they appeared in court.
All the accused have been remanded in custody.
Meanwhile, the source told The Citizen, community members, night watch patrollers and private security companies in Lenasia are aware of another suspect that is wanted by police for his involvement in the kidnappings.
“Posts on social media were circulated of Mohammed Irfaan Adamjee also known as “Muffins” but he hasn’t been arrested. We know he is dangerous because he threatened a local Lenasia resident with a firearm in the week.”
The source said residents fear that if Charloos and the co-accused are released, they may become targets if they talk to the police or the media.
He said residents have also criticised the local CPF structure with allegations of alleged possible links to Charloos being levelled against chairman Ebrahim Asvat.
In a statement, the Gauteng Province Community Police Board has condemned the epidemic of kidnappings for ransom across South Africa and assured that Crime Intelligence is making strides in the investigation and dismantling of these syndicates.
The board also urged the community to abide by the law and follow existing channels of complaint in respect to CPF members and any criminal conduct.
This statement was released after police arrested a CPF member who was allegedly handed cash from what his son-in-law Kazi stated was ransom money.
Local police have appealed to residents to report any incidents of corruption and assured the public that every case will be investigated.