Police swoop on North West farm attack suspects
REIVILO - A combined effort by Reivilo South African Police Service (SAPS) officers, their counterparts in Schweizer-Reneke, Bloemhof, and the SAPS airwing, and Schweizer-Reneke traffic officers and farmers has led to the arrest of a farm attack suspect and two other suspects being taken in for questioning, the SAPS in the North West said on Sunday.
The suspect, aged 38, was wounded in a car chase and was arrested in Schweizer-Reneke on Saturday a few hours after a farmer and his wife were severely assaulted in a house robbery on a farm in Reivilo near Taung. During the arrest, a stolen Nissan X-trail and a firearm were recovered, Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said in a statement.
According to police reports, a house robbery was reported to police at about 10am. On arrival at the farm, police officers found a 64-year-old farmer tied up inside his house. He and his 63-year-old wife had been severely assaulted by three armed robbers, Mokgwabone said.
During the ordeal, the suspects also poured hot water on the farmer before fleeing the scene in the couple's Nissan X-trail, also taking cash, two cellphones, and a bank card. The farmer and his wife were both admitted to hospital with serious injuries.
Following the attack, police in Reivilo activated neighbouring police stations to be on the lookout for the stolen vehicle while the local neighbourhood watch farmers joined in the search.
The victims' vehicle was spotted at a vehicle check point in Schweizer-Reneke. The suspects failed to stop and a car chase ensued towards Ipelegeng location. The suspects eventually abandoned the car and fled on foot.
However, one suspect was arrested after being shot and wounded while running towards a farmer assisting the police officers. The suspect was admitted to hospital under police guard. A firearm, suspected to be used during the commission of the crime, was found in his possession as well as a suspected stolen cellphone. Two other men were taken in for questioning. The investigation into the matter was continuing.
The suspect was expected to appear in the Schweizer-Reneke Magistrates’ Court "in absentia" on Tuesday for possession of suspected stolen property and an illegal firearm, Mokgwabone said.
North West police commissioner Lt-Gen Sello Kwena commended the members for their swift reaction and collaboration with other role players which led to the arrest. The involvement of other relevant stakeholders in the fight against crime was key to ensuring that perpetrators were brought to book, he said.
- African News Agency (ANA), editing by Jacques Keet