By Naadiya Adams
The hunt is on for a group of five men who hijacked a Boksburg Imam outside his home at the weekend.
On Tuesday, news broke that a hijacking had taken place in Boksburg and CCTV footage of the incident had been making its rounds on social platforms, but it later came to light that the victim was in fact Moulana Mohamed Fiyaaz Laher – Imam of the Beyers Park Musallah in Boksburg.
WATCH | Brothers kidnapped in Boksburg North, robbed and released https://t.co/WL8lwTn4fp
— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) June 8, 2021
Ml Laher was hijacked and abducted with a close friend, Hafeez Waleed, – who had come through to deliver a package that evening – while on his way out a group of armed suspects noticed the open gate and entered claiming money and cell phones.
In an interview on Radio Islam Ml Laher detailed how events unfolded on the night of Saturday, June 5th around 19:40. Ml Laher says that it was by the grace of Allah that he survived the ordeal unharmed.
“He was about to go and reverse out of my yard, within not even a few seconds, like within a minute these two men approach us with guns, and these guns were already in a state of being fired. And they pointed it towards us, and they were demanding where’s the cellphones, where’s the money?” said Ml Laher.
At the onset, the suspects appeared aggressive and one of the men forced Hafeez Waleed out of the front seat and into the back of the car, while another harassed Ml Laher.
“What you want? You got the car, take the car and go now. Leave the two of us, you people can carry on,” pleaded Ml Laher.
It was at that moment that Ml Laher realised the suspects were intent on entering his house, but considering his family was there, he stood his ground, refusing entry into his home. As Ml Laher explains the ordeal he described how the Almighty intervened throughout the incident, and when they were denied entry they opted to simply abduct the two men in hopes of gaining access to their bank accounts.
According to Laher, as the car pulled out of the yard there was a second car stationed outside the house, waiting.
“They covered our eyes with the beanies we were wearing and they said ‘look down’ and as we were going I tried to get my bearings properly, what’s our route. You know more or less you can feel the direction the car is going in, right, left, straight. We went to the direction of Vosloorus and they took us to an extremely dark, deserted place,” explains Ml Laher.
Laher details how they stopped at four similar locations but throughout the journey, he managed to maintain his composure and had in fact managed to conversate with the suspects about mundane, irrelevant issues while they figured out their next move. Hafeez Waleed mentioned Ml Laher’s status in the community, which he believes played a role in the way the men treated them.
“There were three men sitting with us in the car, but they didn’t hurt us, they didn’t do anything to harm us… I was engaging them, speaking to them, you know having small talk with them,” said Ml Laher.
Laher also mentioned how the men were consistently on phone calls, sourcing information on whether or not the car they’d just stolen had a tracking device.
Towards the end of the evening, it was close to 22:00 by this time and one of the three suspects gave Ml Laher a sense of calm, making him feel like perhaps it was going to be ok.
“The man who was next to me, he had a soft spot, he wasn’t harmful in any way and was very polite in his mannerisms especially towards me because Hafeez Waleed told them this is our ‘fundis’ from the mosque in our area and he’s the ‘fundis’ of the entire area. I don’t know if it was through the barakat of saying that, that they were even more lenient towards us,” said Laher.
The pair were eventually dropped off in Tsakane in Ekhuruleni, in a dark open felt – unharmed.
They managed to find a lift that took them to the closest BP and they were able to contact their families – Laher mentioned that at least 12 cars arrived within 15 minutes to escort the two men home.
Listen to the full interview here:
By Naadiya Adams