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By Shanice Naidoo

Digital Journalist

Warning issued after hitchhiker falls prey to armed robbers on R71

Limpopo police urge people to make use of safe public transportation after a hitchhiker was stabbed and robbed on the R71.

In a stern warning, provincial commissioner of police in Limpopo, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe, has urged hitchhikers to exercise extreme caution when accepting a lift.  

The alert comes in the wake of an armed robbery incident which unfolded on Wednesday evening, 29 November, on the R71 road in Tzaneen.

 Police reports revealed that a 60-year-old man, hitchhiking to Magoebaskloof, was offered a lift by a silver Polo with three male occupants. 

Hitchhiker forced to ‘bulk up’ bank balance

Upon reaching his destination, the vehicle however sped past the drop-off point, and the armed occupants and confronted the victim, demanding money.

Lacking hard cash, the victim was coerced into revealing his bank account balance.

“The victim did not have hard cash on him but only in his bank account. They then forced him to show them the balance and afterwards, they said it was not enough and instructed him to make a call and ask for more money,” said Hadebe.

The assailants resorted to violence, assaulting the hitchhiker with a firearm and stabbing him until he conceded to their demands. 

The criminals blindfolded the victim to withdraw money without him identifying their location or seeking assistance.

En route to Polokwane, the attackers dumped the victim in Mankweng after successfully withdrawing the funds. 

READ ALSO: Hitchhiker robbed by motorist and passengers

Use safe modes of public transport

Fortunately, community members came to the victim’s aid, calling both the police and medical emergency services. The victim was transported to the hospital for medical treatment.

In response to the incident, Hadebe said the need for community members to prioritize safe modes of transportation, particularly during the festive season.

“Members of the community can avoid becoming victims in the hands of these ruthless and heartless criminals by making use of safe modes of transportation such as public transport,” added Hadebe.

READ ALSO: Thieves targeting hitchhikers in Limpopo a cause for concern

A case of robbery with a firearm has been opened, and law enforcement is urging anyone with information that may assist in the identification and apprehension of the suspects to come forward.

Detective Sergeant Solly Legodi can be contacted at 076-580-0792 or individuals can use the Crime Stop number 08600 10111. Information can also be shared at your nearest police station or via the MySAPSapp

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