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Police withdraw case against alleged initiation kidnappers

Police say the boys were not kidnapped as they went to the school voluntarily.

FILE: Boys who have undergone a circumcision ceremony walk near Qunu in the Eastern Cape in 2013. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng police say a case of kidnapping has been withdrawn against three people accused of taking 11 young boys to an initiation school in Mpumalanga against their will.

The men were arrested on Sunday after the teenagers' parents opened a case of kidnapping.

Among those three people arrested was a member of the local community policing forum.

This after the boys' parents tried to fetch them from the school near Kwamhlanga and they refused to leave.

Police subsequently warned parents about unknown men in Daveyton on the East Rand recruiting young boys without their parents' consent.

The police's Mack Mngomezulu said, "They were not forced to go there, they went there voluntarily, so they're not coming back. The court refused to place it on the roll."

The boys are aged between 13 and 16 years old.

EASTERN CAPE

At the same time, the Eastern Cape Health Department says nine teenage boys are receiving urgent medical care after they were injured during botched circumcisions.

The boys had apparently undergone the procedures at unregistered traditional initiation schools without their parents' consent.

The department said it's possible more teens may have been injured.

Earlier this month, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs said new regulations proposed to govern initiation schools could see the use of modern medical practice to minimise injuries while women would also play a greater role.

60,000 young boys undergo traditional circumcisions across the country annually.

Over the past few years, interventions by the Health Department have seen the number of fatalities decrease.

Government said the proposal is aimed at streamlining standard medical practice with cultural norms.

Deputy Minister Obed Bapela explained.

"The new instruments invented and new technologies are available. It still gets the same achievements of the removal of the foreskin and instead of using old instruments, it uses modern practices. It doesn't compromise culture at all."

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