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Police call off search for missing boy

The boy (3) went missing on Wednesday while playing near his home in the Ramaphosa informal settlement.

FILE: A three-year old boy went missing on Wednesday while playing near his home in the Ramaphosa informal settlement. Picture:Sxc.hu.

JOHANNESBURG - Police on Friday called off the search for a three-year-old boy who was kidnapped in the Ramaphosa informal settlement near Reiger Park.

The boy went missing while playing near his home on Wednesday but was seen in the company of an unknown man in the informal settlement on Thursday.

Police spent the day searching for the suspected kidnapper but say they've made no leads.

The police's Kwenzakwake Ngobese says a kidnapping case has been opened and is currently under investigation.

The incident comes in the wake of a statement made on Thursday by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko expressing concern over a spike in crimes targeting children and the elderly.

Three-year-old Luke Tibbetts died in hospital earlier today after being shot in the head by a stray bullet while sitting on his mother's lap at the back of a vehicle transporting them on Saturday in a suspected gang-related incident.

The incident has sparked widespread outrage across the country and has prompted calls for harsher penalties to be taken against those who commit crimes against children.

The incident comes just three weeks after the death of four-year-old Taegrin Morris who was killed in a hijacking in Boksburg after he was dragged behind his parents' hijacked car.

Meanwhile, Bronkhorstspruit police are still searching for those responsible for kidnapping five-year-old Mongezi Phike last month during a hijacking.

The hijackers held the child captive for five days, then dumped him on the streets of Johannesburg before he was taken to a children's home.