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‘What a miracle’— South Africa celebrates the safe return of the Moti brothers

The Moti brothers, from left, Zidan, 7, Zayyad, 11, Alaan, 13, and Zia, 15 are reunited with their family.
The Moti brothers, from left, Zidan, 7, Zayyad, 11, Alaan, 13, and Zia, 15 are reunited with their family.

Social media was flooded with messages of relief and prayer for the four Moti brothers and their family, after news that the kidnapped boys had been reunited with their parents.

The brothers, aged seven, 11, 13 and 15, were kidnapped in Limpopo three weeks ago, while on their way to school. Their abduction sparked a manhunt and calls from politicians for their safe return.

Police spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo told TimesLIVE police in Vuwani received a call from a local resident on Wednesday night saying the children were at their house after being dropped off on a nearby road.

In a statement, the Moti family said parents Naazim and Shakira Moti were “overjoyed” by the return of their four sons.

“We are thankful that they were set free and when we received a phone call to fetch the children, we rushed to the scene full of hope. We are looking forward to healing as a family,” the statement added.

Their abduction occurred on the R37/N1 on-ramp on October 20, when seven gunmen allegedly opened fire with R5 rifles and handguns, used a black Mercedes-Benz and white Kia Sorento to block the children and their driver and force them to stop.

Sources close to the investigation said it is believed the children were forced into a third car, possibly a silver SUV parked off the road in undergrowth, and driven away in an unknown direction.

There were no further details on their abduction or whether a ransom was demanded, with Naidoo only saying doctors confirmed the children are in good health and investigations are ongoing.

The Moti family asked for privacy while they came to terms with events, and thanked the nation for the support they had received during the ordeal.

They were inundated with messages of love and support on social media, with many sharing their gratitude at the boys’ safe return. 

Some called for other victims of kidnapping to be found and urged the family to speak to the nation on the ordeal.