20 Oct 2015 15:00pm
KATIMA MULILO, 20 OCT (NAMPA) Three men operating from a taxi in the Zambezi Region have been charged with human trafficking and the kidnapping of two teenage boys they allegedly forced into the boot of their car on Saturday night.
The three men - Sabiso Samulandela, 30, Vasco Kabaolwa, 23, and Midricks Tubazube Sinvula, 30 - now face two counts of human trafficking, kidnapping and robbery, after they were found with the teenage boys locked in their car near the Katima Mulilo dump site.
According to police statements, the teenage boys, both aged 17, were apparently kidnapped by the three men who had also robbed them of their mobile phones when they approached the victims at a park in the town centre.
The boys, who are Grade 12 learners at Caprivi Senior Secondary School (CSSS), had been taking photos of themselves in the park at night while on their way from buying electricity tokens.
The men allegedly demanded that the boys give them their phones as they said they suspected they had taken photos of them while they were urinating in the park. The men then apparently forcefully grabbed the boys and demanded that they get into the boot of the taxi they were all occupants in.
While driving towards the dump site, a Namibian Police Force vehicle on patrol noticed the taxi being driven by suspicious looking males, and decided to follow it. The officers found that the men had two teenagers locked in their boot.
On Tuesday, during the mens first court appearance before Magistrate Nomsa Sibbinda, the accused persons indicated that they will be applying for Legal Aid representation in the matter they are facing.
Public Prosecutor George Matali asked the court to deny the men bail due to the seriousness of the crime committed, fear they might interfere with investigations and that it is not in public interest to grant them freedom at this stage.
Nampa could not verify if the accused are part of an alleged human trafficking ring that smuggles people into neighbouring countries for rituals.
The stolen cell phones have since been returned to the victims.
The matter was postponed to 25 November 2015 for further police investigations. The taxi driven by Samulandela has been impounded and is being kept at the Katima Mulilo Police Station.