Journalist’s killer ‘runs kidnapping empire from Maputo maximum security prison’
Evidence suggests Momade Assife ‘Nini’ Satar is behind some of South Africa’s major ransom kidnappings, with his trusted lieutenants carrying out the crimes
By: ARON HYMAN, TANKISO MAKHETHA and GRAEME HOSKEN
Mbombela businesswoman Gita Samgi’s family hoped ransom payments to her kidnappers would stop the videos they were receiving of her being burnt with a hot iron, screaming for help.
They wanted to believe her kidnappers would give the 57-year-old the medication she desperately needed.
Little did they know the highly successful forex business owner, who in 2017 fled from kidnappers in Mozambique to South Africa with her family, was dead.
The family’s last ransom payments, in February 2020, were in vain. In total, they paid R130m to her kidnappers.
The wealthy family fled to South Africa after Gita’s sister, Poornima Singh, was kidnapped in Maputo. She was released after ransom was paid.
Kidnapped outside her Mbombela home in October 2019, Gita’s body, wrapped in sheets, was found under an N4 highway bridge near eMalahleni on February 28 2020. She had been dead for days.
A family member who believes he was kidnapped by the same syndicate said he was waterboarded and nearly drowned after his brother sent the kidnappers’ negotiator a message that nearly sealed his fate.
“My brother made the mistake of sending an SMS saying: ‘We know who you are, we know you’re working with Nini Satar.’ They didn’t like that my brother wrote that name.
“They filled the bath with water. They wrapped my body in chains. They put a plastic bag over my head and they threw me into the bath for minutes until I lost consciousness. After that I started co-operating more,” he said.
The relative, who was also released after a ransom payment, agreed to speak to TimesLIVE Investigations on condition of anonymity, saying he feared for his life.
Momade Assife “Nini” Satar is serving a 24-year prison sentence for the 2000 murder of Mozambican journalist Carlos Cardoso, who exposed his involvement in a Commercial Bank of Mozambique scandal. He was sentenced alongside accomplices Vicente Ramaya, brother Ayob Abdul Satar and Anibal dos Santos Júnior.
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