Drug-linked abduction accused set to stand trial

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Rhodes University says it is happy with what has been achieved to improve security on and off campus since the 2018 arrest of two men in connection with the drug-linked alleged abduction of a Rhodes University student. The men, who have remained in custody since their arrest, are due to appear in court later this month for plea and trial.

Following the 13 April 2018 arrest of the men (Grocott’s Mail won’t name them until they have pleaded), the police revealed alarming details of the modus operandi of the drug-related alleged kidnappings. Three such incidents had been reported in the first three months of the first semester, 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,” Govender said at the time. ““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 Once the money was available they would be taken back to town where the money would be withdrawn from an ATM.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.

The men will appear on Monday 25 February in the Regional Court in Makhanda (Grahamstown) for plea and trial. A previous appearance was held in camera to protect the privacy of the student involved, and it is possible the magistrate may make the same ruling when the trial begins.

At the time, Rhodes Director of Communications, Luzuko Jacobs said the institution was taking the matter extremely seriously. The students were receiving support from the University, including counselling.

This week, Jacobs said, “Security structures and operations on campus are under ongoing review and we are happy with what has been achieved to improve security on and off campus so far. We have also established more frequent liaison with the South African Police Services (SAPS) on all reported cases.”

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