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Inside the spate of child abductions in the Western Cape

The Western Cape Education Department has vowed to treat this matter with urgency and work closely with the SAPS to find out who is behind these crimes.

Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - There have been at least 13 cases of child abductions and attempted kidnappings in communities across the Western Cape since 8 August.

The modus operandi in each case is very similar: female learners are targeted while walking to or from school.

However, it's not yet clear if the incidents are linked or are being co-ordinated by the same group.

The Western Cape Education Department has vowed to treat this matter with urgency and work closely with the SAPS to find out who is behind these crimes.

Officials say in three of the 13 cases, the victims were sexually assaulted.

On Wednesday morning a female learner from Modderdam High was nearly abducted while making her way to school in Bonteheuwel.

Last week a primary school learner was rescued by a vigilant community member in Kensington when a stranger tried to lure the child into his car.

In the Steenberg area in the same week a grade 9 pupil was abducted and sexually assaulted while making her way to school.

Last month education officials received two kidnapping-related complaints - one in the Zonneblom area and another attempted abduction in Rylands.

WATCH: Stranger Danger: Child abductions in Cape Town

The spate of abductions and attempted kidnappings have left parents and teachers on edge.

A Bonteheuwel mother says parents in her community are gripped by anxiety.

Nadia Mayman says her 9-year-old daughter - who attends Arcadia Primary - uses the services of a school transport driver.

She says she worries the driver drops her child off at school without ensuring she made it safely inside the school grounds before driving off again.

Mayman adds her work is suffering because she starts panicking at around dismissal time, eager to receive a text from her child, telling her she's made it home safely.

Meanwhile, principal of Phoenix Secondary School in Manenberg, Shafiek Abrahams, says he is gravely concerned.

He says teachers have been making learners aware of the dangers they face amid this worrying trend.

Abrahams says they've met with police and the local community policing forum requesting that members conduct patrols around the school grounds.

He says even more worrying is that at least 90% of children either walk to school or travel by taxi.

Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle has also expressed concern and has urged parents to keep a close eye on their children.

Earlier this week four children were abducted in Whittlesea. They’ve since been taken to a place of safety.

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