BADFONTEIN – Brutal farm attacks occurred across the country this weekend and the Lowveld was no exception.
A woman was tortured with a hot iron on Saturday night at Doornhoek Farm in the Badfontein area near Lydenburg.
A normal evening for Mr Allen Bullen and his wife, Estelle (58) turned into horror when five intruders entered their home. The suspects assaulted the couple and robbed them of R20 000, computers, cellphones and firearms.
Ms Bullen was burnt with an iron to force her to hand over the keys to the safe – a tactic often used during farm attacks.
According to Mr Andries Bezuidenhout from K-9 Security, the suspects entered the Bullen’s yard around 19:00.
“They overpowered Allen who had been working in the barn. He was handcuffed and assaulted with a pipe. The dogs started barking and Estelle got worried because her husband said that he wouldn’t be long. She went looking for her husband, but was overpowered and assaulted when she arrived at the barn. Estelle was forced back into the house.
Once inside, the attackers proceeded to burn her with a hot iron, demanding that she gave them the keys to the safe.
“When she couldn’t give them the keys, they went outside to collect Allen and continued to assault the couple. They then robbed them of their valuables and left,” Bezuidenhout said.
After they left, Mr Bullen managed to untie himself and called for help.
“Unfortunately, we cannot give a full description of the suspects because the victims were not in a good state when they were transported to hospital. The only information we managed to get was that it was five men who communicated in English. Among the five was a thin man who was very aggressive and he kept assaulting the victims,” Bezuidenhout explained.
“We would like to urge the community to be alert at all times. It is advisable not to have a routine which enables criminals to track your movements, making it easier for them to attack. If you see suspicious people, report them to security companies and the police,” said Bezuidenhout.
According to the police spokesman, Sgt Elizabeth Selwaletau Magoa, they are investigating the possibility that seven suspects might have been involved in the attack. The couple was taken to Mediclinic Nelspruit.
Ms Elmarie Janse van Rensburg, a friend of the Bullen’s, commented on Facebook on Sunday that, although Mr Bullen had been discharged from hospital, he was still in a lot of pain and that Ms Bullen had been on her way to theatre to have the wounds cleaned and scraped.
Two of the suspects were arrested in Mashishing early yesterday morning, according to Magoa.
“Our officers haven’t stopped searching for the attackers since the matter was reported,” she added. If you have any information that can help locate the remaining suspects, call Maj Linki Mathebula on 082-628-3172.
Another farm attack occurred near Pilgrim’s Rest, also on Saturday night. Coincidentally, the targeted farm is also known as Doornhoek.
According to provincial police spokesman Col Leonard Hlathi, a man (26) and woman (24) had been watching rugby when suspects armed with firearms entered their home and tied them up with ropes and chains. The perpetrators apparently also wanted to burn the two with an iron. Fortunately for the victims, the suspects found a very old iron which was apparently broken.
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“The three suspects wore balaclavas and demanded money and firearms from the victims. They stole a 12-gauge double-barrel shotgun, a .243 hunting rifle as well as an 11-mm antique Mauser rifle,” Hlathi said.
“They also took clothing, jewellery and two Samsung cellphones before fleeing the scene at about 23:15 with a Volkswagen Golf, which was found abandoned near Hazyview on Sunday.”
Ms Christine Otto is another local who was burnt with an iron during an attack in the Burnside area on March 20 last year. Like Bullen, Otto was tortured to hand over the keys to the safe.
• According to Beeld, Ms Petro Res of Thabazimbi and her husband, Bruno, were shot during a farm attack on Friday night. The perpetrators locked the couple and a friend, Ms Marie Barnard, inside the safe where a critically wounded Ms Res died in Barnard’s arms. The three were only discovered in the safe 16 hours later.
• Mr Hansie Raath and two boys, 11 and 15 years old, were killed on a farm in the Free State on Saturday night. A suspect, who had allegedly fled with Raath’s vehicle, was arrested the following morning.