Robbers hit church

2014-09-18 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG church was robbed three times in one day this week.

In the first incident, six armed men broke into the St Joan of Arc Church on Ohrtmann Road in the early hours of Tuesday morning and stole copper pipes stored in the garage before fleeing the scene, said church secretary Nomonde Nxumalo.

At about 6 am, robbers broke in through a back window and fled with a laptop, cellphone and a bag.

While those who live at the church were still coming to terms with losing their belongings, the six robbers came in again just before lunch time, banging on the doors and demanding their valuables. This time two of them came with guns drawn.

One of the victims, Millicent Cebekhulu, who was held at gunpoint by two men, told The Witness of her terrifying ordeal.

“I was busy cooking and when I turned, two men had guns pointed at me. I was shocked, but I had the audacity to ask them what they wanted,” said Cebekhulu.

“They demanded my cellphone and I said I don’t have it. They forcefully took it off my chest. When I screamed, they ran away. I was shaking.”

Pastor Ngumba-Lelo Joseph said he rushed to the kitchen after hearing Cebekhulu scream. “When I got out, I saw four men running to the small gate. I then saw the other two following them with guns in their hands. When I got to the kitchen, Millicent was shocked,” he said.

“This is disappointing. We are afraid for our lives now.”

Joseph said one of the church members called the police, but it was too late. He said the thefts had started a month earlier, but “this was serious”.

“Three days before these attacks, they stole clothes, globes, an iron and other appliances. To us this is normal as they do this often. It has become an everyday thing.”

Clothing was taken during previous thefts.

Joseph said the church would increase security.

Cebekhulu opened a robbery case yesterday. Provincial police spokesperson Jay Naicker said that a case of armed robbery was opened and is being investigated. No arrests have been made.

• khanyisani.dlomo@witness.co.za

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