Hillcrest man a hero in Moz raid

2013-12-30 00:00

HILLCREST resident Dean Hayward, who evacuated his family from a Mozambique camping site while being fired at by AK47-toting gunmen, is coming home today.

Hayward, his wife Tanya and their 12-year-old daughter made a bold escape from the Casa Lisa resort north of Maputo last Tuesday when armed gunman wielding machetes stormed the holiday lodge, tied up the guests and plundered their belongings, while two of the robbers raped a Namibian tourist.

“I have since the ordeal found Chinese supply AK47 bullet casings in my boat and bakkie. We are driving back to South Africa today and will be home by this evening. It will be a tough call if my family will ever holiday in Mozambique again after this experience.

“While we managed to get away, the young woman raped has had her life changed forever. When I look back at what happened I wonder, in hindsight, if I could have done more to save the others,” said Hayward, speaking from Ponto do Oura, about 14 km from the South African border.

The family were heading north towards the Inhambane province.

Recounting the evening, Hayward, an avid hunter and fisherman and member of the Durban Ski-Boat Club, said it was the screams of “minha família” (my family) at 2 am that made him realise something was wrong.

“I grabbed my wife and daughter by their hair and ran them to my van — the boat was still hitched. When I started the engine it must have distracted the attackers.

“We sped off. Gunshots were fired at us. The road was hair-raising and Tanya and my daughter were screaming. At one point I thought either of them had been shot,” said Hayward.

But it was Hayward’s distraction that allowed several other holidaymakers the opportunity to make a run for it.

Two GP-registered taxis found them on the main road and escorted Hayward to the nearest police station. His boat trailer had torn loose on the poor dirt road and he was driving on his rims after all his tyres were flat.

“I managed to get my boat back — which had been ransacked,” said Hayward.

He said he would get an escort to the South African border.

While attempts to confirm the arrests of the attackers with the Mozambique police force were unsuccessful, Casa Lisa owner Bruce Buckland said he had been informed by Mozambique authorities that arrests had been made.

“I am meeting up with members of the Criminal Investigation Police today where I should get more details.

“This entire incident has shattered my nerves. I have much work to do to repair the reputation of this establishment. One of my security guards was badly beaten and now we have two police officers patrolling the site at night until the end of the festive season,” said Buckland.

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