Zimbabwe. (News Of The South) – POLICE have arrested 12 suspects who allegedly kidnapped, tortured and robbed 30 people who intended to cross into South Africa illegally.

The 12 who include Sunboy Ngwenya, 39, Thabani Ngwenya, 46, Alfos Mpofu, 40, Nhlaloyabo Dlamini, 24, Alfred Tshuma, 20, Loveless Ncube, 34, Jeffrey Moyo, 36, Thifulufheni Ndou, 40, Mbusilizwe Sibanda, 36, Bernard Makwelo, 48, Lungisani Moyo, 34, and Lemson Ncube, 50, are expected to appear before Gwanda regional magistrate Joseph Mabeza on Friday facing charges of contravening the Immigration Act or alternatively trafficking in persons and kidnapping.

Their trial started in Beitbridge recently, before being transferred to Gwanda regional court yesterday, but was postponed to Friday.

Regional prosecutor Johannes Tlou sought postponement of the matter citing fuel challenges in transporting five of the 12 persons from Beitbridge.

“Your Worship, we cannot proceed with continuation of trial today because the other five accused persons failed to come to court, they are still in Beitbridge. I phoned Prisons Regional Office in Bulawayo and was informed that they have fuel problems. However, they promised to source fuel for tomorrow (today) or the day after tomorrow,” said Tlou.

Magistrate Mabeza set Friday as their next court appearance.

According to the State outline, during the period extending from February 1 to February 3 this year, the 12 entered into a contract to assist 30 people who did not have passports to cross into South Africa illegally for a fee ranging from R200 to R1, 000 per person.

On departure day, they are alleged to have found Limpopo River flooded and decided to take the 30 to Ndou’s homestead where they held them captive.

They tortured them, before robbing them R25, 500 rands.

“The agreement was that the accused persons will assist the complainants to go through the official point namely Beitbridge Border Post. The accused persons instead transported the complainants to Phephu village under Chief Matibe in Beitbridge using three motor vehicles intending to assist the complainants to leave the country through an undesignated exit point,” reads the State outline.

“Complainants were threatened, assaulted and denied free movement by the accused persons using knives, firearm and metal objects. The accused persons further confiscated complainants’ cellphones to deny them communication and stole cash amounting to R25, 500. The stolen money was not recovered.”

One of their victims, Ebeneza Nyoni escaped from captivity and reported the matter to the police leading to the arrest of the 12 are all represented by Thompson Mabhikwa.

Another victim Luckson Nyikadzino suffered severe injuries due to the torture and was referred to Beitbridge District Hospital for medical attention.

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