Somali girl, 17, kidnapped in South Africa

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CAPE TOWN - A Somali family in South Africa is in distress following the abduction of a 17-year-old teenager an incident which took place in her father's tuck shop in the Western Cape last week, amid increasing cases of kidnapping tagging foreign nationals in the country.

Police and witnesses said the teenage girl was grabbed by gunmen while her father was offloading merchandise at his shop in Delft. Efforts by the father to intervene did not succeed after his attempts to rescue her fatally failed.

The family now says it has received a ransom demand of R 600,000 [$35,132 USD]. The kidnappers also warned they would harm his daughter if he didn't comply. Foreign nationals are usually targeted in South Africa, in what critics have condemned as unjustifiable xenophobic attacks.

The Somali Association in the Western Cape told the local media they did not receive any additional information. The abduction cases are slowly cropping up in the country, with police putting on notice rogue groups that have been linked to the crimes.

Earlier this month, Cape Town police rescued 8-year-old Abira Dekhta, who was snatched by armed men as she left her home in Gatesville to go to school. Abira's father is an Indian national who runs a cellphone shop in Cape Town. The kidnappers held the young girl for ten days as they tried to extort money from the family.

According to research, the criminals in South Africa first do thorough research by profiling their prey and learning about their financial status, nationality, and family before terrorizing them. They then kidnap them and demand ransom and extortion.

Members of the Somali, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, and Chinese communities have been targeted by criminal gangs in incidents in Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Nyanga, Blue Downs, Samora Machel, and Mfuleni. President Cyril Ramaphosa has been accused of failing to control xenophobic attacks.

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