THE Namibian Police once again upheld their sterling record for solving every incident of violent farm attacks when three suspects involved in the attack on the elderly Mr. Andries van Vuuren, his wife Nina and one of their farm workers were apprehended less than 24 hours after the incident.
The 76-year-old Mr. Van Vuuren was severely assaulted by three assailants on Farm Kentani in the district of Kalkrand late on Wednesday afternoon. He was transported to Windhoek for emergency medical treatment after six of his ribs were broken during the attack. He is currently out of danger.
The swift response from members of the farming community of Kalkrand, Hoachanas and Uhlenhorst saw the initial arrest of two suspects within hours of the attack. The arrest of the third suspect followed shortly before lunch time on Thursday when the Namibian Police deployed teams of trackers and dogs as well as a helicopter from the Namibian Police’s Air Wing.
The relentless search for the third suspect ended when the he was tracked down where he was hiding in a huge weaver bird nest in the top of a tree.
The attacker climbed up the tree and into the nest in an attempt to evade the police tracking team and their dogs.
The Inspector General of the Namibian Police, Lieutenant General Sebastain Ndeitunga lauded the bravery of the elderly couple that was attacked as well as the farming community for their fast and relentless actions that led to the arrest of all three the suspects involved. He also congratulated the police officers involved for their dedicated actions that led to the arrest of all three suspects. The general singled out the pilots of the Nampol Air Wing who reacted very quickly to assist with the arrest.
“I expect all the communities in Namibia to emulate the example of the farmers who played a significant role in the arrest of the three suspects. This should serve as a strong message to criminals that they may able to run but they will never be able to hide from the long arm of the law. Don’t play with Nampol and the communities of Namibia,” General Ndeitunga said.
According to a neighbour of the elderly Mr.van Vuuren, he and a few other neighbouring farmers rushed to the farm after receiving an urgent call on the radio network by Mrs. Nina van Vuuren.
“We could establish that Uncle Andries was busy feeding some of his sheep about 800 metres way from the farm house when he was suddenly attacked by three of his employees. The attackers beat him in his face with their fists and when he fell to the ground they kicked him. In the process several of the old man’s ribs were broken and he sustained a serious injury to his eye,” Wallace Theron said.
According to Theron the attackers used a pair of pliers and wire to bind Mr. van Vuuren’s wrists and feet before they went to the house where they overwhelmed his wife.
“After they forced Aunty Nina into submission they used rope to tie her hands and feet together and then left the house to attack the only other employee on the farm in his house a little distance away from the main farm house. They also used wire to tie him up.”
Theron said in their absence the elderly Mrs. Van Vuuren got hold of a knife which she used to cut herself free.
“She immediately locked the house and used the radio and her telephone to call for help. When the attackers returned to the main house they realised that their plan was not going to work and ran back to where they attacked the old man. They took his car, an Uri, and fled the scene of their crime with the stolen vehicle.”
Neighbouring farmers who were already searching for the Uri saw the suspects driving between Hoachanas and Uhlenhorst and attempted to force the vehicle to a standstill. The car chase ended when both rear tyres of the Uri were shot out. Two of the attackers were apprehended on the scene while the third man ran into the veldt.
The Hardap Regional Police Commander, Commissioner John Lifasi, confirmed the arrest of the three suspects and said that one of the men has been in the employ of Mr.van Vuuren for the past seven months.
Commissioner Lifasi said Mr. van Vuuren employed the two other suspects only a few hours before they attacked him after he travelled to Kalkrand to find them.
“He travelled to Kalkrand a few hours before the attack to find two more men to work for him on the farm. We are still interrogating the suspects to try and find a motive for the attack,” Commissioner Lifasi said.
In the meantime Mr. Thinus Pretorius, Chairperson of the Joint Crime Prevention Forum (JCPF) of the Namibia Agricultural Union said in an official statement that the swift conduct of the community and Police resulted in the arrest of the three suspects.
“Mr. Van Vuuren was found tied up some distance from the farmstead. He was severely assaulted and was transported to Windhoek for medical treatment.”
Pretorius said the farming community is happy to note that the elderly Mr. van Vuuren is out of danger and he expressed gratitude towards the community for their swift action.
“The JCPF is also grateful for the swift action of NamPol in the Hardap region and their continued investigation into the matter. Our gratitude is also for the dedicated individuals and discipline that led to the orderly result of bringing the suspects to justice.”