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Indian envoy, family held hostage during armed robbery in South Africa

The family of Consul General Shashank Vikram, including his five-year old son, domestic staff and a visiting teacher were held up briefly during the intrusion at their Durban residence on Saturday.

Reported by: PTI, Durban [ Updated: November 20, 2017 8:01 IST ]
Consul General Shashank Vikram seen with High Commissioner
Consul General Shashank Vikram seen with High Commissioner of India - South Africa, Ruchira Kamboj.

The family of India's Consul General in Durban was attacked by robbers and briefly held hostage at their official residence there, prompting India to raise the issue with South African authorities.

The family of Consul General Shashank Vikram, including his five-year old son, domestic staff and a visiting teacher were reportedly held up during the armed intrusion at their residence on Innes Road, on Saturday.

"We have taken up the matter with the relevant authorities, and investigations are currently ongoing. We expect that the intruders will be arrested soon," ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

He said that ensuring the safety and security of Indian diplomats and officials posted abroad, along with their families, is a matter of highest priority for the Indian government.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has spoken to the Consul General and inquired about the well being of his family, Kumar said.

The robbers reportedly gained entry by derailing the entrance gate, a strategy used often in a spate of brazen robberies recently in affluent suburbs north of Durban, the Independent Online reported.

"They (Vikram's family) are OK but they were obviously traumatised," consul S K Pandey was quoted as saying.

Nobody suffered physical harm, he said, adding that they planned to attend counselling.

He said a domestic worker's cellphone, which was also robbed, could provide clues to the incident.

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