Friday, 15 July 2005

'McGyver' boy outwits attackers

'McGyver' boy outwits attackers

15/07/2005 08:46 - (SA)

Marietie Louw, Beeld

Makhado - As brave as TV-series hero McGyver - that's how Limpopo police have described a teenager who narrowly escaped death in a farm attack on Thursday.

Superintendent Ailwei Mushavhanamadi of Vhembe police said the boy had been "very brave".

"He reminds one of McGyver on TV."

On Thursday morning, 15-year-old Frits du Toit freed himself from the ropes that bound him, seconds before the fuel with which he had been doused ignited.

He then jumped through the window to flee his attackers and sped to town on a motorbike.

Frits, of Brakspruit farm near the air force base about 20km outside Makhado, had been apparently alone on the farm on Thursday morning.

Inspector Daniel Ndlovu of Makhado police said three men overpowered Frits about 08:00.

They had been wearing balaclavas and it was not known how they gained access to the farm.

Doused him with petrol

Ndlovu said the attackers took the teenager to a storeroom where they tied him to a chair. They tied ropes around his hands, feet and head.

"Then they doused him with petrol and also poured petrol in the room."

Then the men apparently struck a match and threw it on the petrol before taking off.

Quick-thinking Frits used the knife he had on him to cut the rope around his hands and then his feet.

Ndlovu said the youth jumped through a window in the storeroom.

He ran to a motorbike on the farm and raced to town to his grandmother, Lampies du Toit, who worked at a spares dealer.

Ndlovu said the attackers fled the farm without taking anything. The police are investigating a case of attempted murder.

On Thursday, the Du Toit family did not want to discuss the incident with Beeld.

Gideon Meiring of the Soutpansberg district agricultural union said Frits's escape had been incredible.

"The terrible cruelty used in farm attacks is astounding. The people want to instil fear."

According to him, the attack could not be regarded as a normal robbery because nothing had been stolen.

Murdered on his farm near town

Since last year, people living on farms in the Makhado area had been victimised by attacks.

In October, Martin Armitage, 66, was murdered on his farm near town.

A week later, attackers targeted Gillie Fick and his wife, Sophia, in the Vivo area. A firearm and a vehicle were stolen in this attack.

More recently, in May, a German couple, Werner Viedeck, 65, and his wife, Brigitte, 59, had been cruelly attacked on their farm outside Makhado.

Viedeck's ear had been split with a whip in this attack.


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