Kidnapped Indian businessman in South Africa released after 137 days

JOHANNESBURG: A 76-year-old Indian businessman in South Africa who was allegedly kidnapped has been released after 137 days in captivity, a media report has said.

Omar Carrim was kidnapped outside his store in Pretoria on August 3 and released after 137 days, TimesLive reported.

Mr Carrim is now recovering at home. “I can confirm the release of Carrim. He was released in Olifantsfontein on Monday.” said anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee.

The Carrim family has thanked relatives, friends and the community “for all the support and assistance since he disappeared in early August”.

“We are most grateful to everyone and we thank the Almighty for returning our father and brother to us. Thank you for all the prayers and the moral support from the public,” the family said in a statement.

At the time of his alleged kidnapping, pleas were made for his release on humanitarian grounds as Mr Carrim was seriously ill and needed constant medication.

He was due to undergo heart surgery the day after he disappeared. Mr Carrim was allegedly hijacked in his car. The car was later found burnt out near a township north of the city.

Mr Abramjee said that kidnapping syndicates had surfaced in South Africa which were targeting particularly wealthy South African Indian businessmen.

“Often families refuse to get police involved and there are even reports of huge ransoms being paid in some instances to secure the release of loved ones in recent years,” Mr Abramjee said.

“Foreign nationals running businesses in South Africa, including Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Chinese migrants, are also soft targets for these gangs because they deal largely in cash only,” Mr Abramjee said.