Africa-Press – South-Africa. After more than a week since her disappearance, kidnapped Anichka Penev was reunited with her family on Friday night.
Western Cape police confirmed to News24 on Saturday morning that Penev had been found, but would not provide any other information regarding her release.
“She has been safely reunited with her loved ones (and) the circumstances surrounding the kidnapping are still under investigation,” said spokesperson Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi.
It is understood that she was found in a shack in Khayelitsha late on Friday night.
Anichka’s husband Simeon posted a heart-warming message to his WhatsApp status on Saturday morning confirming his wife’s safe return home.
“We thank from the bottom of our hearts every single kind heart that has been praying and supporting us throughout this difficult journey. Anne is home,” Simeon said.
Former Western Cape Community Policing Forum (CPF) board chairperson Hanif Loonat confirmed she had been found and taken to hospital.
According to him, no arrests have been made.
“Ms Penev who was kidnapped has been released this evening. The National Anti-Kidnapping Task Team, with the assistance of Hostage Negotiator Team of WC SAPS, guided and assisted the family in negotiating a successful release from captivity. She is being taken for a medical check-up and is reunited with her family. Its been a gruesome week but she is finally safe,” said Loonat.
National police commissioner General Fannie Masemola has said the Western Cape is the only part of the country where kidnappings for ransom are “still problematic”.
“We are applying the same strategies used upcountry and implementing them here – integrated teams from national and provincial [police], as well as all other law enforcement agencies in the province,” he told the Western Cape government’s standing committee on community safety.
“We’re approaching it in that fashion with a view to win, so that the same results we achieved upcountry can be achieved here. We need to make sure we arrest those people.”
Penev was snatched outside her workplace in Blackheath just over a week ago.
It is understood that the ransom demand was R5 million.
No further incidents have been reported to the authorities.
Sources said they were not aware of unreported kidnappings either.
Acting provincial police commissioner Major-General Albert Maqhashalala, at a standing committee meeting on Friday, said the Western Cape had an integrated kidnapping task team, which included Crime Intelligence, detectives, the State Security Agency, Hawks, and a dedicated prosecutor from the National Prosecuting Authority.
He told the committee:
The City of Cape Town is now also part of its operations.
This after it repeatedly offered its services to assist the police through the council’s specialised units.
Maqhashalala said various departments were also involved in its extortion priority committee, which met weekly.
Penev’s kidnapping was under investigation “by all the capacities… including national expertise”, he added.
When asked by a committee member for numbers involving arrests and convictions, Maqhashalala said he did not have them on hand, as the topic had not been on the agenda.
“But I can certainly say there’s a large number of people in custody for kidnapping and extortion. We did not come prepared for that question, so it is difficult to give the number, but I am certain there is a large number. There is also a large number of cases that are running in court.”