Two farm attacks in Free State within hours

Police and farmers in the Smithfield district have launched a manhunt for four suspects who are on the run following a second farm attack in the Free State this morning.

They are believed to have ambushed a farmer outside his farmhouse near Smithfield this morning. This follows an attack on an elderly couple and another woman on a farm outside Bothaville about 350km away.

Smithfield’s Agriculture Associations’ safety coordinator, Hugo Pretorius, says the farmer left his house in the early morning hours when four men, one wearing a red jacket, ambushed him. He escaped unharmed. The suspects, who are believed to be armed, fled on foot.

Pretorius says the rural safety plan has been activated. All roads in the area towards Bethulie have been blockaded. Bothaville Agricultural Organisation’s safety coordinator, Johan du Plessis, says in the first attack six men gained entrance to a farmhouse just after 02:00 this morning.

They tied the couple and a woman up with duct tape and demanded the safe’s keys. A firearm and money were taken. Two of the suspects were armed.

They fled the scene towards Orkney in a silver Volkswagen belonging to the victims. – Christal-Lize Muller