The Cape Town family of 12-year-old Nayati Moodliar, who was kidnapped six days ago in Kuala Lumpur before being returned to them this morning, say they are overjoyed with his return.
His aunt Anushia Moodliar in Cape Town said this morning they received a call shortly before 4am telling them Nayati had been found.
“We are absolutely overjoyed and relieved that he has been returned to us, unharmed.”
Caroline Swanepoel, another aunt in Cape Town, said Nayati returned “hungry and tired”, according to SABC news.
“My sister said she will talk to us this afternoon, but she was off to the hospital with him just to have a routine check-up,” Swanepoel said.
“It’s been the best news ever that Nayati is back… he came home hungry and tired.”
Shortly after 9am today his father Shamelin Moodliar posted a picture on Twitter showing the boy walking home from hospital with friends.
Nayati was kidnapped on Friday while walking to Mont’ Kiara International School near his home in Kuala Lumpur.
A police source in Malaysia said the boy was released early today in the town of Rawang on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur after an undetermined amount of ransom money was paid to the kidnappers.
The Moodliar family confirmed the child’s safe recovery but would not give details about the circumstances of his release.
The family first posted a message on the Facebook group set up to help find Nayati: “We have got Nayati back! He is back to our arms again! Thank you all for your support! We will post soon!”
This was followed by a lengthier message in which they thanked just over 20 000 members in the group and said they could not reveal any more information as the kidnapping was still under investigation.
“We cannot begin to say how proud we are of him and the way that he has coped with the events of the past week,” they said.
“As we are sure you will understand, Nayati’s kidnapping is the subject of an ongoing investigation so we are unfortunately not at liberty to reveal any of the details of the case at this stage.”
Facebookers from all over the world expressed their joy at him being found.
One user commented: “This is the best news (I have) received. I have been worried sick all week, I teared up every time I hug my son to sleep thinking of how much his parents must have missed Nayati… Now I cried with joy that all our joined prayers have been answered. Big hugs.”
Nayati’s parents previously lived in Cape Town. His father attended Bishops College and his mother, Janice Smith, went to Norman Henshilwood High School. The couple also have a daughter, Saffiya. 6.
The family did not confirm the reports of a ransom payment.
A Malaysian businessman and a Malaysian news portal had reportedly earlier offered a reward totalling 60 000 ringgit (R154 000) for information leading to Nayati’s return