Elderly farming couples attacked over weekend

The weekend of 10-12 July saw separate farm attacks on two elderly couples living in the Free State and Eastern Cape respectively. Although assaulted by their attackers, all four victims survived the attacks.

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According to widespread media reports, the first attack occurred on the evening of Friday, 10 July, in the Salem area of the Eastern Cape. While Farmer’s Weekly was unable to obtain information on the attack from the province’s police communications service, the media reports named the victims as John (70) and Madeleine (71) Kinnel.

Certain media reports quoted Eastern Cape SAPS spokesperson, Captain Milanda Coetzer, as having said that the Kinnels’ assailants had stolen a bakkie and electronic goods. Coetzer added that police were investigating the case, and that John Kinnel was recovering in hospital from stab wounds and wounds to his head said to have been caused by a blunt instrument

The second attack was reported to have occurred on the morning of Sunday, 12 July, on Brakdam Farm in the Vrede area of the Free State. The Free State SAPS said in a statement that Johannes (70) and Rita (68) Kritzenger had been attacked by two assailants after arriving home from church.

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“They tortured the couple to be able to get access to the keys of the safe. Both victims sustained gunshot wounds during the process,” said SAPS spokesperson Constable Maselela Langa, in the statement.

Langa said the suspects had fled with a .38 revolver, a cellphone, and with cash.

A few hours after the attack on the Kritzengers, the police investigation led them to a former employee of the couple. The suspect was arrested after some of the items stolen from the Kritzengers were found in his possession. Langa said that police were still on the hunt for the second suspect.

TAU SA said that, according to its own statistics, there had been 28 farm murders in 127 farm attacks across South Africa since 1 January this year.