Recalling his fear of being slaughtered like an animal, local Bangladeshi businessman, Sobuj Razauddin still becomes highly emotional when talking about a recent ordeal in which he was kidnapped and severely assaulted while kept in captivity for five days after a business deal did not work out as planned in Pretoria in January.
During an interview with Polokwane Observer Razauddin indicated that he was left physically impaired after he lost sight in his right eye. He also pointed to his abdomen that was still tender and bruised from the kicks and blows he had to endure.
Intervention by a Louis Trichardt based Police captain and Razauddin’s brother from Mankweng led to a trap being set in Pretoria on 24 January in which two of the four alleged kidnappers were arrested. According to Pretoria Central Police Station’s Spokesperson Augustine Selepe the two suspects, Mohammed Faruk and Sahahiduzzaman Sahahiduzzaman, appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on charges of kidnapping on Monday and the matter was postponed to 12 March. She said both were granted bail of R1 000 each.
The business deal
Razauddin moved from Mankweng to Hammanskraal and later to Upington only to be offered an opportunity to open a shop in a village outside Soshanguve late last year.
“I received several calls from two men named Suhag and Faruk early December about the shop. On 7 December I viewed the shop and it was almost empty with no stock. They wanted R200 000 for the shop but we verbally agreed that I will pay them R80 000 and supply my own stock with one month trial to determine if the shop is profitable and then pay the outstanding balance if I decide on keeping it.
“They indicated that the shop collects between R7 000 and R15 000 per day but I only made between R200 and R300 per day.”
Threats and robbery at the shop
Razauddin regularly updated the four men involved in the deal about the poor performance of the shop and indicated he would no longer continue with the shop as it is not profitable.
He travelled several times to Pretoria to meet with the men who by then have already threatened him that he would be in trouble if he does not pay the outstanding money. On 15 January he met with the four men again.
“I begged them to keep the shop and the stock and that I just want to leave. They kept on demanding the outstanding balance and even told me that I will experience what they are capable off.
“The next day I was robbed at the shop. I was so severely beaten that I lost consciousness. When I woke up almost all the stock were gone. I was locked inside and community members had to break the lock and took me to hospital,” Razauddin said.
After being released from hospital the same day Razauddin was warned by community members to leave as he was in danger but decided to stay as he was scared of the men he was dealing with especially after the robbery and assault at the shop.
On 21 January two of the men and a third unknown man entered the shop and ordered him to go with them to a shop in Pretoria and will be killed if he refuses.
“I was taken to the back of the shop and beaten. At night I was taken to a house elsewhere in the city and during the day to the shop where I was tortured. They sometimes came in with big knives and I feared being slaughtered like an animal.”
The rescue mission
Razauddin indicated to them that his brother will be able to pay them the money. One of the suspects called his brother and arranged a meeting in Pretoria.
After getting no help from Mankweng Police Station he called the certain captain from Louis Trichardt who immediately arranged for a trap to be set.
“On 24 January the suspects arranged with my brother to meet at a prominent fast food franchise in Bosman Street, Pretoria. All four suspects were there as well as my brother and the Police. When they (the suspects) got out of their vehicle the Police reacted quickly and two of them were arrested while the other two ran away,” Razauddin said.
Razauddin was rescued and he and his brother taken back to Mankweng after making a statement at the Pretoria Central Police Station.
Staying with his brother, Razauddin still struggles to cope with the ordeal.
“I cannot sleep and still receive threatening calls from the suspects. Last Tuesday I had yet another call. For now I am trying to stay calm for my injuries to heal properly,” he said.
Story: RC Myburgh