7 held for Mpumalanga farm attack

2013-06-21 22:32
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Johannesburg - Seven people were arrested on Friday for attacking and robbing a farmer in Somerset, near Machadodorp, Mpumalanga police said.

On their way to the scene on Thursday night police spotted a car with two men outside the farm, police psokesperson Leonard Hlathi said.

"When they were questioned about their presence on the farm, they became evasive and told the police that they were in the vicinity to buy oranges."

Police became suspicious as there were no orange farms in the area.

The men then said they were waiting for other men who had gone onto the farm to collect something.

The two were arrested.

A neighbouring farmer made his private helicopter available to help the police.

After a lengthy search, three more men were arrested.

Hlathi said they were found trying to hitch-hike towards Mbombela.

"After their arrest, they disclosed the whereabouts of the sixth man. The police followed the information and the man was nabbed also hitch-hiking towards Nelspruit."

He was found in possession of a gun and a laptop.

He shot dead a police dog and tried to conceal the weapon by throwing it into a river.

Police divers retrieved the gun on Friday morning.

Another laptop which had been stolen from the farm was found in the grass near the river.

Police were still searching for a seventh suspect, believed to be armed.

All six, aged between 21 and 46, would appear before the Belfast Magistrate's Court on Monday facing charges of house robbery, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.

Police said the men had been linked to several crimes across the province.

One of them was out on parole after serving a jail sentence for murder.

The farmer was not injured in the attack.

"He was tied up but managed to untie himself and get help from his brother who alerted the police," said Hlathi.

It was unclear if any other possessions were stolen from the farm house.

Read more on:    mbombela

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