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South African police have finally narrowed their investigations into a spate of hijack incidents targeting especially, Botswana registered vehicles.

Three suspects aged 25, 27 and 30 are in police custody and were expected to appear before Mmabatho Magistrates Court this week for the offences.

According to Brigadier Mokgwabone Sabata of the South African Police Service (SAPS), the suspects’ court appearance follows their arrest on Thursday, 14 March 2019, by Mahikeng Flying Squad and Cluster Trio Task Team in Mothibistad in the Northern Cape.

The police, according to Brig. Sabata, have been working tirelessly since cases of car-jacking, robbery aggravating and kidnapping were reported, to ensure that the suspects are brought to book.
In a press statement released this week, Sabata said the suspects targeted and hijacked vehicles with Botswana registration numbers that entered the country mostly through Ramatlabama Port of Entry.

“The crimes were committed between September 2018 and March 2019 in the policing precincts of Mahikeng, Itsoseng, Lichtenburg, Setlagole and Zeerust,” he said.
According to police investigations, upon committing the crimes, the suspects used a blue light and posed either as traffic or police officers to stop unsuspecting victims.

“The suspects would then take the victims’ vehicles before robbing them of their cash and other valuables including bank cards. In some instances, the victims were coerced to disclose their bank cards’ Personal Information Number (PIN) codes. The latter would then be used to withdraw cash from the victims’ accounts.”
Since Wednesday, 23 January 2019 to date and as part of the operation to trace, arrest and link the suspects with the cases, Sabata says the police recovered 24 hijacked vehicles.

Of these vehicles, 21 were recovered in Mahikeng while the other three were recovered at Seweding village, Kuruman including the one which was found in possession of one of the suspects.

The police also recovered laptops and cell phones belonging to the victims.
A number of travellers from Botswana fell victims to the hijackers over the last festive season.

One of the victims, Mike Makin, spoke exclusively to The Voice Online about his hijack ordeal in the video interview below:


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