A pupil at Shabani Primary School in Zvishavane, Midlands Province recently survived a kidnapping attempt by two masked men while on her way home.
The suspects reportedly followed the girl from behind, sprayed a white substance in her face, and tried to shove her into their car.
The incident was revealed in a letter by the school’s headmistress who went on to implore parents to ensure their children were also safe outside school premises.
In a letter addressed to parents, the school head, who only signed off as Matutu, said the attempted kidnapping took place on 08 June.
Matutu, however, did not disclose what Grade the child was or her age. Part of the letter reads:
"Two men wearing face masks and driving a car followed a child after school and grabbed and doused her with a whitish substance.
The child was only released and saved when another car approached from behind forcing the two men to flee from the scene.
The child lost her voice and regained it the following day…
In light of the above near tragedy, the school is advising all parents to seriously consider the safety of their children to and from school, and ensure you find reliable and reputable transporters.
For learners that walk to school, may you ensure you accompany them to and from school."
Earlier this month, Police expressed concern over cases of kidnapping in which schoolchildren are being targeted.
It came after two pupils aged 11 and 12 were kidnapped in separate incidents in Harare and Chinhoyi.
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said Police are investigating the cases. He said:
"The ZRP is concerned with cases of kidnapping in which learners are being targeted.
Police in Harare are investigating a case of kidnapping in which a Grade Six pupil aged 11 was kidnapped while going to school by four unknown suspects who were travelling in a black Toyota Noah on Monday at around 6.30 AM in Glen View.
The victim was later dumped along 13th Avenue in Glen View 3."
In another case of kidnapping, a 12-year-old Grade Seven learner was abducted in Chinhoyi.
The victim was kidnapped near Chengetanai Old People’s Home by three unknown suspects travelling in a white kombi. The victim was later dumped in Avlon Park.
In March this year, a 12-year-old girl was abducted while she was looking for transport near a primary school in Eastlea, Harare.
Three unknown assailants in a blue Toyota Hiace were involved in the kidnapping.
The girl managed to escape from the three men after they had parked the vehicle in the Hillside area and hid in a nearby maize field.
Here are some tips parents and guardians can teach their children to avoid being kidnapped:
- Stay away from strangers.
- Stay away from anyone who is following you on foot or in a car.
- Run and scream if someone tries to force you to go somewhere with them or tries to push you into a car.
- Memorize a secret code word. Tell your child not to go with anyone under any circumstances unless that person also knows this code word.
- You don’t need to help an adult. For example, a child shouldn’t trust grown-ups who ask kids for directions or for help finding a puppy or kitten.
- Always ask for permission before going anywhere with anybody.
- Tell your parents where you are going.