Phoenix community calls for an end to crime following discovery of child's body

Phoenix-based community leaders have urged parents and guardians to protect their children, following the discovery of a decomposed body thought to be that of missing 9-year-old Miguel Louw.

A group of around 100 people, comprising religious leaders, police, community policing forums and security companies, gathered at the scene where the body was discovered.

There, religious leaders from all faiths, led by the Phoenix Religious Leaders Forum, prayed for peace in the area and for a gracious rest for the Sydenham boy.

A wreath was placed on the ground as songs were sung in his honour.

Speaking during proceedings, Phoenix police station commander Brigadier Bafana Ndlovu said communities were pivotal in the fight against crime.

"Crime affects all of us. Yes, police are primary roleplayers, but we cannot win the battle against crime without the community."

Ndlovu acknowledged that structures within the community which worked with police also felt deep emotion when a crime was committed.

'We want things to be safer'

"We are also parents and guardians. We also live here. We want things to be safer. You have to all work with us."

He said that the body was found in a very unlikely place.

"If it wasn't for the robbery chase, I don't think the body would have been found. The perpetrator picked a spot where the body would not be discovered. This is happening on our doorsteps. If you see something, please report it," he said.

He was referring to the fact that police found the body while they were investigating a robbery in the area.

Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer called on parents to take better care of their children's whereabouts.

"The epidemic of violence taking over our communities; we must all be vigilant and know exactly where our children are [and at] what time. Even if you are working, call them at home to ensure they are at home."

She added: "Take extra care. Don't take children for granted. We have to be there for them all the time."

Sergeant Colin Chetty and his dog Ghost, who made the gruesome discovery, were also acknowledged for their work.

Human trafficking charges

The body was found clothed in a school uniform on Monday afternoon on Longbury Drive in Phoenix. The boy went missing on July 17 in Sydenham.  

Ghost, a police Search and Rescue dog had been attempting to locate two robbery suspects when he diverted and found the body.

Last week, the only suspect in the matter, 43-year-old Mohammed Ebrahim was released on R2 500 bail. Evidence failed to link him to the kidnapping of the boy.

Video footage allegedly shows Ebrahim buying Louw KFC near his school in Rippon Road in Sydenham.

However, it is not yet clear whether the boy entered a taxi with Ebrahim after visiting the KFC.

He was arrested on July 28 and faces human trafficking charges.

An autopsy on the decomposed body was conducted on Wednesday. DNA results are expected to formerly identify it.

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