Two Arrested After Pastor’s House was set on fire  Over Kidnapping Allegations in North West, South Africa

Police have apprehended two individuals following the arson of a local pastor’s home, amid accusations of child kidnapping, in Kgabalatsane village, Hebron, North West, South Africa.

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The suspects appeared in the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate’s Court on Monday, June 3, 2024, facing charges of arson and possession of stolen property.

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The arrests stem from an incident last Thursday, when community members allegedly set fire to a house belonging to a local church pastor. North West provincial police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Amanda Funani, stated, “According to the information we have, community members accused the pastor of kidnapping and holding children at his house.”

She elaborated that about 300 community members gathered in front of the church in Kgabalatsane village, Hebron, near Brits, on Thursday, May 30, 2024, demanding the release of the children.

Police found three children at the premises and returned them to their parents, who denied the kidnapping allegations. Subsequently, officers escorted the pastor to the local police station after the angry mob threatened him with violence.

“Later, police were informed that the pastor’s house was on fire. Following this, two suspects, aged 19 and 54, were arrested for arson and possession of suspected stolen property,” Funani reported.

North West provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, praised the police for their quick response that led to the arrests. He urged the public to allow the investigation to proceed and to avoid taking the law into their own hands, emphasizing that criminal activities should be reported to the authorities.