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Three men said to have been terrorising motorists on the N4 between Brits and Majakaneng have been arrested after months of investigations.
The suspects, Zimbabwean nationals believed to be in the country illegally, are alleged to be behind a series of incidents along the N4 since January.
One suspect was arrested at Lions Park in Muldersdrift while the other two were arrested in Majakaneng outside Brits.
During the arrests police recovered goods they suspect were stolen during the suspects’ reign of terror.
Police were also able to link the suspects – aged between 20 and 23 – to rapes and robberies which had been committed along the N4 between Brits and Majakaneng.
North West police spokesman Brigadier Thulani Ngubane said: “In a recent incident, a man who is a director in Botswana, and his wife were attacked by three men after they had an accident outside Bokfontein.
“The three suspects emerged from the nearby bush and pretended to be offering assistance.
“The suspects allegedly assaulted the 40-year-old Botswana national while his wife was gang-raped before they were robbed of their belongings, including an undisclosed amount of money.”
The suspects’ modus operandi would be to place barricades such as stones and hard objects in the road. When motorists drove over the objects they lost control of their vehicles and sometimes overturned.
The suspects would then attack their victims and vanish.
Since the beginning of this year, motorists have been trapped with stones used to barricade the road.
In some cases, the cars would collide or overturn and the victims would be tortured, raped and robbed of their money.
The suspects were found in possession of laptops, clothing, cellphones, wristwatches, computers and foreign currency.
All the recovered goods are suspected to have been robbed from the victims who were subjected to assault and rape during their ordeal.
“The suspects were charged with possession of suspected stolen property, robbery, and rape.
“They are expected to appear in the Brits Magistrate’s Court today (Friday),” Ngubane said.
Police have appealed to the public, especially motorists who may have been attacked and robbed while travelling along the N4 Highway in a similar manner to visit the Brits police station to identify their property.
Ngubane said people needed to be careful when they drove along the N4 near Brits.
They should not assume that rocks on the road have been placed there by protesters.
“We have always maintained that criminals tend to use service delivery protests as a smoke screen to carry out their crimes.
“Many people tend to think that roads have been barricaded by protesters.
“But it is criminals waiting to prey on those whose cars break down as a result of whatever has been placed on the road.”