Drugs abduction accused wants bail

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One of two men facing charges in connection with the drug-linked alleged abduction of Rhodes University students on Tuesday 22 May announced his intention to apply for bail.

The men appeared in the Grahamstown Magistrate’s Court briefly this morning, for the fourth time. They are charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Their last appearance, on 23 April, was for a bail hearing. Both abandoned their bail applications and remained in custody.

This time, accused number two indicated his intention to apply for bail. Neither may be named because they have not yet pleaded. The case is postponed to 29 May for the bail hearing.

Police last month revealed alarming details of the modus operandi of the drug-related alleged kidnappings. “Since February 2018 three incidents have been reported to SAPS Grahamstown. One in February and two now In April,” spokesperson Captain Mali Govender told Grocott’s Mail at the time.

“In all the incidents, male students were stopped in New Street or Pepper Grove Mall by two… males who offered to sell them drugs.

“The men would, once their victims refused to buy drugs, kidnap them at knife point and take them to a house in the location. They were held there until they made calls for money to friends or family.

“Once the money was available they would be taken back to town where the money would be withdrawn from an ATM. After that the victims were released,” Govender said.

On Friday 13 April, Rhodes University Campus Protection Unit issued a warning to students and staff about these incidents, urging students to be vigilant in town and around campus.
Police spokesperson Captain Mali Govender confirmed to Grocott’s Mail that two men had been in custody since their arrest on Friday 13 April.

Rhodes Director of Communications, Luzuko Jacobs, last month said the institution was taking the matter extremely seriously.

“Our co-operation with the police is spearheaded at the highest level within the institution, to make sure the police respond to situations like this. We provide all the necessary support,” Jacobs said.

The students were undergoing counselling and would receive any other support they required from the University, Jacobs told Grocott’s Mail.

“We take this extremely seriously,” Jacobs stated. “As a university, we cannot have a situation where our students are intimidated and cannot express themselves socially and academically.”

He said security structures and operations on campus were under ongoing review.

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