A father arrived home from his farm to find that his teenage son Jodré had narrowly escaped death after five armed attackers had tied the boy up and threatened him. An innocent man named Mark was brutally murdered and his wife seriously assaulted and told to get undressed so her attackers could rape her. In yet another farm attack, at least ten armed men assaulted four victims. It has been an ordinary week of murder and violence aimed at farmers in South Africa.
Only in the latter case have the attackers been arrested.
The attackers that tied up the 15-year old Jodré Lubbe as well as the murderers of Mark Hadiaris, have escaped and the police are still looking for them.
A mere four minutes after André Lubbe left his teenage son Jodré early on Thursday morning for his farm, attackers stormed the house.
The boy was in the kitchen and as he turned to get his first soft drink from the refrigerator, he heard a knock on the door. Framed in a window, he saw a man standing there, with a gun pointed directly at him. The door was open and the attacker entered. The man then whistled and four other men appeared, armed with guns and knives.
His father was relieved that they did not lay a finger on Jodré. FWM learned that his son escaped unharmed because he had managed to stay calm. They tied the boy to a chair at the safe and demanded the keys, but he did not know where it was.
The assailants then ransacked every room, and tore into the ceilings in order to look for hiding places of valuables. The attackers eventually broke the safe from the wall and managed to cut it open.
Lubbe says they were clearly interested in guns and money, although they also stole other items. But he also says the assailants knew the house quite well. He believes they must have been watching the family’s home because they knew a lot about their movements. “It just shows you, they watch you,” he says.
A security company, Hi-Tech Security Nelspruit and Bossies Community Justice joined the SAPS in searching the bush into which the suspects had fled.
Mbombela police spokesman, Capt Dawie Pretorius, told The reporters that the dog unit joined the search but it was called off when they lost their tracks on the N4 highway. This suggests that the assailants had a getaway vehicle waiting for them and that their attack had been well prepared.
According to Pretorius, the aggressors broke open the safe and made off with two pistols, a shotgun and an air gun.
“It could have been much worse,” André believes. “We were lucky. If I had driven back to the house earlier, it could have been much worse.”
The murder of Mark Hadiaris
For the latest farm attack survivor, Sue Hadiaris (49) it has actually been much worse.
She told The reporters, that she still remembered looking down the long barrel of a big black gun. The black assailant pointing the weapon at her, was tall and thin with sharp facial features. His partner’s gun resembled his. The two had just coldly slain her husband, Mark (55), 30 minutes earlier.
“Take off your clothes. We want to rape you,” the one attacker told her, moments before she was able to reach for the security panic button. If she had not called for help in pressing the button at that moment, she would have been killed too, she believes.
The farm attack on Heidelberg Farm happened in the early hours of the morning when two men charged the couple, who were enjoying the weather in the garden, and forced them into the house at gunpoint.
Mark ran towards the bedroom, but his assailants followed him and shot Mark in the chest. He died instantly. According to Warrant Officer Gugu Phiri, spokesman for White River Police Station, the strike happened at around 02:00.
Then the pair assaulted Sue with what was presumably a sharpened screwdriver to gain access to the safe and stole all the valuables as well as cellphones.
Sue was then ordered to undress. She realised that they were planning to rape her, but managed to reach the panic button, a friend says. Thanks to her move, a security company called Full Circle arrived just minutes later and the assailants fled before they could carry out their threat.
The police and the security company’s owner, Jan Barnard, thoroughly investigated the scene, but the bullet that killed Mark was not found, even though the bullet had exited his body. This suggests that the farm attackers were well-trained not to leave behind incriminating evidence.
Sue sustained serious injuries to her hand and was taken to Nelspruit MediClinic via ambulance after she had been rescued.
In yet another incident, in a joint operation between a number of security companies, the police and members of the community arrested ten attackers on Friday. It is believed that the gang was responsible for a farm attack in the Lydenburg/Stofberg area in the early hours of Friday morning.
The victims, all farmers, were later treated for knife wounds at Middelburg Hospital.
Provincial police spokesman, Sgt Gerald Sedibe, said law enforcement had received a tip-off and had set a trap. Not long after, several assailants, travelling in an Audi believed to have been stolen during the farm attack, were apprehended. Shortly afterwards, another four travelling in a rented Volkswagen Polo were arrested in the same area.
One of the suspects was shot in a leg during a shoot-out which ensued at the Hazyview/Sabie intersection, before being arrested, while another suspect, travelling in an Opel Corsa bakkie, was also detained. The final suspect was apparently arrested in Stoffberg.
Goods, including firearms and laptops and an undisclosed amount of cash, believed to have been stolen during the farm attack, were found in their possession, confirmed Sedibe.
Albert Gryvenstein of Bossies Community Justice, said they had good reason to believe all the suspects had been caught.