Birthday bash turns brutal as mob mistakes dad for kidnapper

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By Doreen Mokgolo

Abel Sumbe wanted to celebrate his son’s fifth birthday by taking the boy and his friends for chicken and ice cream – but it almost cost him and his friend their lives.

Abel and his friend Sibongiseni Khumalo from Daveyton survived an attack by police and an angry mob who accused them of kidnapping the 13 children.

Since the incident on 10 February, the two friends who work as land surveyors have moved to a different area out of fear. 

In a video that went viral on social media, the frightened children can be seen being taken from the back of Abel’s and Sbongiseni’s panel van by community police wardens, known as mapanyapanya.

Abel was excited to treat his son’s friends at a popular food franchise. 

But the excited father’s plans soured when employees at the franchise called police, suspecting the two men had kidnapped the children.

“I am not a criminal, let alone a child abductor. I am a father and smarter than that,” he told Scrolla.Africa.

“Initially the cashier was happy and complimented me for the children being orderly but a commotion started when we refused to donate R2 to its charity campaign.”

He joked and said he told them he deserved the donation as he was the father of all the 13 children.

“Then there was a back and forth and I decided to move the children out of the shop. Before I knew it an angry mob of residents, community policing wardens and police were insulting us and taking turns assaulting us,” he said. 

Abel said one of the residents screamed ‘asibashiseni’ (Let’s burn them).

“I was soaked in what smelled like petrol. At that moment I knew if I didn’t run I was going to be a victim of mob justice,” he said.

He ran to Daveyton police station while Sibongiseni, who remained behind, was repeatedly assaulted. Finally, both men were detained by police overnight; in the morning they were told to go home.

Sibongiseni said his health has worsened since the incident, and he was suffering constant headaches and body aches. 

“I still cannot believe that the police joined the mob in assaulting us. They must be held accountable and charged for assaulting us,” he said. 

“One of the officers laughed, saying he saw my head bouncing like rubber on the concrete floor.” 

Gauteng police spokesperson Colonel Dimakatso Nevhuhulwi encouraged the two men to open cases at their nearest police station.

Pictured above: Abel Sumbe and Sibongiseni Khumalo.

Image source: Supplied


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