A man accused of kidnapping a five-year-old girl is fighting for his life in hospital after community members beat him to a pulp.
Residents of Mthatha in Eastern Cape found the man on Tuesday with the child, who was reported missing on Monday.
The 40-year-old was rescued by the police from the wrath of the community.
Police spokesperson Priscilla Naidu said the 26-year-old mother of the child was informed by the child’s grandmother that her five-year-old daughter was missing.
The mother learnt from the community that they allegedly saw the man walking with the child in town and a case of kidnapping was opened.
“On Tuesday, the suspect was seen walking with the child in York Street in Madeira (Mthatha). It is alleged that the suspect was sitting inside the minibus taxi with the child. The community pulled him out of the vehicle and severely assaulted him with stones and sticks. He was rescued by law enforcement officials who were patrolling,” said Naidu.
The suspect was taken to hospital by ambulance for treatment and is currently under police guard. He will be detained upon discharge on a charge of kidnapping.
Naidu said the suspect is unknown to the child and the family.
“The child was also taken for medical examination and was reunited with her family,” Naidu added.
A case of attempted murder has been opened in relation with the suspect’s assault.
“We urge all parents to be vigilant and ensure that their children are safe and within sight at all times. In the same breath, it is vital to remember that taking the law into your own hands, as in this incident, is not the appropriate response,” he said.
The suspect is expected to appear in court as soon as he’s discharged.