Observer on Saturday - - News - African News Agency

B LOEMFONTEIN - A 26year-old man­ager of a farm near Ficks­burg in the Free State has been shot in the head and air­lifted to a hos­pi­tal in Beth­le­hem, the South African Po­lice Ser­vice said yes­ter­day.

Colonel Thandi Mbambo said po­lice were alerted to the shoot­ing on Thurs­day evening. When po­lice ar­rived at Mooiplaas farm they found that the farm man­ager and a worker had been ac­costed and at­tacked by an armed gang.

"Mr Aarend Covert, 26 years old, was shot in the head and had to be air­lifted to Beth­le­hem Medi-Clinic Hos­pi­tal in a se­ri­ous con­di­tion ... whereas the farm worker Len­yara Tsotetsi had de­fen­sive stab wounds in the arms," said Mbambo.

The pair had just re­turned from a neigh­bour­ing farm when they were con­fronted by five un­known males.

Mbambo said the gang told them not to get out of the ve­hi­cle, but Covert dis­em­barked. "A scuf­fle en­sued and he was shot in the fore­head, whilst the farm worker was stabbed whilst try­ing to de­fend him­self from the knife-wield­ing sus­pects."The stabbed worker man­aged to run away, caus­ing the gang mem­bers to panic and flee. As they fled for the moun­tains they dropped a re­volver”, said the colonel.

"Two badly in­jured sus­pects were handed over to the po­lice by farm­ers and ar­rested," said Mbambo, adding that the in­jured pair were taken to Dih­labeng Hos­pi­tal in Beth­le­hem, where one of them died.

The other in­jured sus­pect re­mains in hos­pi­tal un­der po­lice guard.

"Po­lice and the farm­ers are still on the look­out for the re­main­ing three sus­pects and a case of at­tempted mur­der has been reg­is­tered for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion."

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