Man­hunt after tourists robbed

The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Gcina Nt­saluba

A mas­sive man­hunt has been launched by po­lice in Pha­l­aborwa for three sus­pects fol­low­ing the rob­bery of tourists at a pri­vate plot in Silonque on Thurs­day.

The sus­pects al­legedly en­tered the premises at Silonque plot and held nine tourists at gun­point and robbed them of valu­ables, in­clud­ing a lap­top, 10 cell­phones, jew­ellery and more than R5 000 in cash.

The sus­pects fled the scene, us­ing the vic­tims’ rented Mercedes Benz ML which was later found aban­doned in bushes next to Silonque main road, about 10km away.

Lim­popo Tourism Agency chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Sonto Ndlovu said any at­tack on tourists took the province back on the strides made with the se­cu­rity clus­ter in en­sur­ing that all tourists were safe when they vis­ited Lim­popo.

“We were shocked by the at­tack. The dis­pos­ses­sion and threat to their lives are un­ac­cept­able,” said Ndlovu.

Lim­popo Premier Stan­ley Matha­batha also con­demned the at­tack.

“Lim­popo is a safe province with friendly and warm peo­ple, hence it is a pre­ferred tourist des­ti­na­tion. We will not al­low crim­i­nals to change that,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to a Face­book post by Far North Bul­letin, the group of tourists that were robbed were not all from Aus­tralia, with some from Jo­han­nes­burg and a 16-yearold girl vis­it­ing her mom from Is­rael, where she is be­lieved to be liv­ing with her fa­ther.

The pub­li­ca­tion fur­ther stated that the girl and her mother who were on the pa­tio out­side were forced by the rob­bers to join the rest of the group in­side the house and the girl was re­port­edly raped. This was de­nied by the po­lice. The na­tional com­mis­sioner of po­lice, General Khehla Si­tole has been briefed by the provin­cial com­mis­sioner of Lim­popo, Lieu­tenant-General Nneke Led­waba who has mo­bilised the 72-hour ac­ti­va­tion plan by assem­bling a team of in­ves­ti­ga­tors to track down the sus­pects.

Ear­lier this month the na­tional com­mis­sioner of po­lice and the di­rec­tor-general of tourism en­tered into a me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing be­tween the two de­part­ments to de­ci­sively deal with crime against tourists.

“Among the pledges made was in­creased po­lice vis­i­bil­ity as well as to train the ex­ist­ing tourist mon­i­tors as po­lice re­servists,” said General Si­tole.

Ac­cord­ing to the na­tional de­part­ment of tourism, a joint tourism safety plan was put in place at the be­gin­ning of the fes­tive sea­son to pro­vide proac­tive pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures to po­ten­tial in­ci­dents and to pro­vide an af­ter­care pro­gramme that fo­cused on mea­sures to fa­cil­i­tate and pro­vide vic­tim sup­port after an in­ci­dent had oc­curred.

Any­one that has any in­for­ma­tion about the sus­pects must con­tact the SAPS Crime Stop num­ber 086-00-10111 or in­for­ma­tion may be pro­vided via the MySAPSApp.

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