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Durban - Two elderly men have been murdered in front of their wives in separate home invasions in KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend.

A 66-year-old man was shot dead at his smallholding in Creighton, near Ixopo, when three men broke into his home in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Shaheen Suleiman, the owner of Magma Security, said they responded to the scene following a call placed by the man’s wife, who managed to untie herself after the ordeal.

“The suspects broke into the home by cutting the burglar bars on a window. They shot the husband point blank and he died on the scene,” said Suleiman.

The couple were alone in the house at the time of the incident.

Police spokesperson, Captain Nqobile Gwala, said the men had demanded firearms and had taken three laptops, two cellphones and other belongings before fleeing the scene.

Charges of house robbery and murder are being investigated by the police, while Magma Security is also searching for the culprits.

Andre Pretorius, the chief executive and founder of the Emergency Security Reaction Unit and Farmwatch, said they had also dispatched officers to the scene.

Although he is based in Mpumalanga, Pretorius said his company - which provides a cellphone app panic button service - has most of its clients in KwaZulu-Natal.

“There seems to be an increase in farm murders at the moment, particularly targeting older people.”

He said the modus operandi suggested that the perpetrators watched the farms and specifically targeted those seen to be vulnerable.

However, knowing that some residents were armed, the criminals were not taking chances and were shooting - especially men - before they had an opportunity to retaliate.

This was the case in a Tongaat home invasion on Saturday afternoon in which an 82-year-old man was bludgeoned to death and his wife, 77, was stabbed in Chelmsford Heights.

In a statement, Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa) said its officers were alerted to the incident by the couple’s frantic neighbour just after 5pm.

When they arrived at the scene, they found the man’s lifeless body in one of the bedrooms. He had been brutally beaten on the head and his hands were tied behind his back.

His wife had multiple stab wounds on her hands and head. She sustained multiple lacerations to her hands, an injury to her head and a ruptured eye.

“It is alleged that the male victim had woken from his afternoon nap. When he entered his living room, he noticed a female standing at his front gate. When he opened the gate to see what she needed, he was accosted by two men who were armed with knives and a knobkierie. The suspects began assaulting him when he screamed for help,” Rusa said in a statement.

His screams woke his wife, who went out to help, but she was also attacked by the assailants, who forced her into a bedroom.

“After rummaging through the house, the robbers left and the woman was able to untie herself and raise the alarm,” Rusa said.

Ward councillor Dolly Munien, who visited the home on Sunday, said the family were still in shock.

“It’s tough, but I encouraged them to be strong for their mother, who is still in hospital. They are waiting for the son, who lives in Malaysia, to arrive before making any arrangements,” she said.

Gwala said cases of house robbery, murder and attempted murder were being investigated in connection with the incident.

No arrests had been made in connection with either case.

The Mercury