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Lesotho, SA police launch manhunt for robbers

’Marafaele Mohloboli

LESOTHO police and their South African counterparts have launched a joint operation to arrest three Lesotho nationals who were part of a four-man gang that robbed and kidnapped an 80-year-old South African woman at her farm in Zastron, Free State.

Police Spokesperson Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said they had already arrested one of the four men and “hope to arrest the others soon as they are believed to be in Lesotho”.

He said once all the suspects have been arrested, they will be extradited to South Africa to stand trial for robbing and kidnapping the woman.

The woman, Daleen van der Hoven, was attacked at her farm by the four men on the night of 3 July 2020.

The suspects got away with an undisclosed amount of money, jewellery and three rifles. They then fled across the border in the elderly woman’s Audi vehicle and entered Lesotho back via Mafeteng. They forced Ms Hoven into the car and drove into Lesotho with her in the back seat.

They dropped Ms Hoven somewhere in the freezing night cold of Ramotsoenyane village in Mafeteng but she was helped to cross back into South Africa by some local well-wishers. Her car was found abandoned the next day in the Ramotsoenyane village. It had been set alight.

According to her daughter, Lize du Plessis, Ms Hoven walked barefoot for about 2, 5 kilometres, clothed only in her nightgown and without glasses before eventually seeking help at a homestead in the village.

Ms Hoven is now recovering at home after being discharged from the Life Rosepark Hospital more than a week after the attack, her daughter told the South African media.

She was treated in the hospital’s high-care unit for six days for intra-cerebral bleeding resulting from the attack.

Supt Mopeli this week told the Sunday Express that one of the suspects was arrested in Mafeteng on 8 July 2020.

“The Lesotho police and their South African counterparts worked together to help the old woman and arrest one of the suspects.

“We will work flat out to find and arrest the other suspects and extradite them to South Africa,” Supt Mopeli said.



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