Alleged teen kidnapper to be sentenced

06 Mar 2016 14:10pm
KATIMA MULILO, 06 MAR (NAMPA) – A Katima Mulilo taxi driver found guilty of kidnapping two teenagers in 2015, will be sentenced in court on Monday.
The 29-year-old Sabiso Samulandela will hear his fate when he appears for sentencing before Katima Mulilo Magistrate Nomsa Sibanda, who found the accused guilty of kidnapping Mario Ndumba and Given Mata.
On Thursday, Samulandela pleaded guilty to kidnapping the boys, whom he locked up in the boot of his taxi on 17 October 2015.
Samulandela and his co-accused Vasco Kabaolwa, 24, and Midricks Tubazube, 31, were initially charged with kidnapping, human trafficking and robbery, but the State decided to drop the other two charges last week during plea and trial.
Kabaolwa and Tubazube both pleaded not guilty, saying they were just passengers in the taxi driven by Samulandela.
The three were accused of kidnapping the boys after robbing them of their mobile phones when they approached the victims at a park in the town centre.
The boys were Grade 12 learners at the time. They claimed they had been taking photos of themselves in the park at night while on their way home 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.
They then apparently forcefully grabbed the boys and demanded that they get into the boot of their taxi.
The boys were rescued by Namibian Police officers on patrol, who found the taxi at the Katima Mulilo dump site and ordered the accused to explain what they had been doing in the area late at night.
In a statement read by Samulandela’s Legal Aid appointed lawyer, Hope Ngara, Samulandela told the court that he locked the two teens in his taxi boot because he wanted to “punish” them for purportedly taking photos of him and his friends while they were drinking alcohol at the town centre park at night.
He pleaded for mercy, saying the incident has tarnished his name and that he is the sole breadwinner of his minor children aged four months and five years old.