Zimbabwe: Violent Farm Robberies on the RiseDate Posted: Thursday 13-May-2010 --http://www.africancrisis.co.za/Article.php?ID=75880&
By Alex Bell
An alarming spate of violent farm robberies in recent weeks has heightened tensions in the remaining commercial farming community, with at least nine attacks reported since March.
Most recently, Jannie and Yvonne Liebenburg were assaulted by an armed gang while visiting relatives in Daisyfield last Friday. Jannie was shot in the arm and beaten. This attack came just days after tobacco farmers James and Wendy De la Fargue were brutally attacked while sleeping in their Centenary home, almost two weeks ago. The couple were airlifted to a South African hospital with serious injuries as a result of being beaten with iron bars by a gang of men who only stole a handful of items. James was feared to have suffered brain trauma and was kept under sedation last week. Both he and his wife underwent surgery because of the extent of their injuries.
These attacks in the last two weeks bring the number of reported incidents to nine, with seven other similarly violent robberies taking place, mainly in the Midlands province, since March. Four armed robberies on farms in Somabhula have taken place recently, and in three of the cases the victims were either tied up or assaulted, or both. Other attacks have also taken place over the last few weeks in Gweru and Shangani, including that of John and Debbie Anderson, who were tied up, assaulted and robbed on their farm near Gweru.
It's understood that police have made one arrest, but at least another four men believed to be connected to the robberies remain at large. Two of the suspects, whose photographs are being circulated, are believed to be brothers, Frank Mophosa and Lovemore Mophosa. The pair are said to be known to the police and have even been photographed wearing jewellery belonging to one of their victims.
The attacks appear to be the latest tactic of intimidation launched against commercial farmers, who have been fighting farm invasions and harassment for ten years. The formation of the unity government last year has done nothing to stop such harassment. Instead there has been an intensified drive to force the remaining farmers from their land. It is widely believed that the farm robberies form part of this campaign.
Original date published: 12 May 2010