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After Bus Hijacked in South Africa, Stevenson Students Returning Home

The holdup happened during a study abroad experience hosted by the university.

The U.S. Embassy in South Africa was reportedly helping those on the Stevenson University trip get credentials to return home.
The U.S. Embassy in South Africa was reportedly helping those on the Stevenson University trip get credentials to return home.
On the heels of a hijacking, students from Stevenson University will be returning home within days of departing for South Africa, according to reports.

Approximately 30 students and five chaperones were on a tour bus Sunday in Pretoria, one of three capitals in South Africa, when the vehicle was surrounded by a group of men on motorcycles, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Four men, one of whom had a handgun, got on the bus, rounded up people in the front of the vehicle, then stole jewelry, cash, phones, passports and other valuables, WJZ reported.

Nobody was injured in the robbery, which took place on the second day of the five-week trip, according to the Associated Press.

The participants were criminal justice students who planned to meet with local government and police officials during their stay, according to ABC 2 News, which reported this was the fourth year the trip has been in existence.

Former Baltimore City Police Commissioner Fred Bealefield, who is on the faculty at Stevenson, was among the chaperones. He said the "students remained calm and focused," WBAL reported.

Stevenson and South African officials were working to restore credentials for the travelers so they could return to the U.S., which ABC 2 News reported should happen in the next 48 hours.

The university cited the stability of home in its decision to send the students back early.

"There are 35 people who have potential trauma. We don't want them to be alone 8,000 miles away," Stevenson University's Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Jim Salvucci told WBAL.

According to WJZ, students on a similar trip three years ago were robbed in their hotel rooms at knifepoint, although university officials said "nothing of any great significance" had been reported in years past.
M. Sullivan May 13, 2014 at 02:47 AM
The criminals heard that the mastermind Fred Bealefeld was one of the chaperones, so they could get away with anything. What's the point of going to South Africa anyway? Hell, why not just take the students to Afganistan?

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