Pietermaritzburg - A man is in a critical condition in hospital after he was assaulted with a gun and a hammer during an armed robbery at Alex Supermarket & Take Away shop on Alexandra Road on Thursday.One of the shop managers, Yousuf Mhommoad, told The Witness that 10 minutes after opening the shop at 6 am, they were robbed and assaulted by five armed men.Mhommoad said he was in the shop with one of his brothers while his other brother was in the back office when the robbers entered.“They came in and pointed the guns at us. Only three of them had guns and one was carrying a hammer. They all had their faces covered with what looked like black scarves.”He said the robbers demanded to know where the money was kept and led them to the back office at gunpoint.Mhommoad said the robbers opened the safe and took out all the money, demanding more before assaulting them. “One robber asked us where we kept the rest of the money and after we told them that was all the money we had they started hitting us with the butt of the guns.“One robber hit me once on my head with the gun while the other man hit me on my arm with the hammer,” said Mhommoad, who had dry blood stains on his head and face.He said his other brother was taken to MediClinic after he was badly assaulted by the robbers. “They hit him multiple times on his head with the gun and used the hammer to hit him all over his body while demanding more money.”Mhommoad said the robbers then took the hard-drive of the CCTV system, locked them inside the office and ran off with the keys, the cash, their cellphones, and cigarettes they stole from the shop.“We had to break the door open to get out. When we came out the police were already outside. Someone must have seen what was happening and called the police,” he said.He said this was the first robbery they had experienced since they started trading in the area.“We thought we were safer here because we are very close to the police station. We will definitely upgrade our security to prevent this from happening again,” he said.Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said they suspect these are the same suspects who robbed the Engen service station on Edendale Road on Wednesday morning.On Wednesday, three armed men wearing black masks had attempted to hammer open an ATM at the service station.They made off with an undisclosed amount of cash, cigarettes, and cellphones belonging to the employees.“This incident fits the description of yesterday’s [Wednesday’s] robbery at Engen on Edendale Road.“The robbers used the same modus operandi and the same getaway vehicle was used — a black BMW,” he said.Ngobese said police are investigating a case of another business robbery and no one has been arrested yet.“Cluster commander General Phumelele Makoba wishes to warn local business owners to be more alert as it seem businesses are being targeted despite the police’s efforts to curb such crimes.“If you see suspicious people do not hesitate to call the police,” said Ngobese.