South African civil rights organisation AfriForum released its latest report on farm attacks and murders which showed that farm murders rose by almost 30% despite the Covid-19 Lockdown which led to a decrease in other crimes in 2020.

According to the report, released at a media briefing on Wednesday, there was an increase in the number of farm murders in 2020 despite the fact that crime in South Africa decreased in the same year. 

“AfriForum’s research reports 63 farm murders in 2020, as opposed to 45 farm murders in 2019,” Andrea Muller, a researcher at AfriForum told journalists.

Farm murders up more than 28%

 This translates to a more than 28% increase in farm murders compared to the previous year.

According to the report there were 382 confirmed farm attacks during 2020, which is a decrease from 511 farm attacks in 2019. Most of the reported attacks occurred in August 2020. 

“It must be noted that these numbers are not necessarily a true reflection of all attacks that occurred, because the media or different networks do not always report on every case. The decrease can be attributed to the lockdown, which restricted people’s movements and resulted in more police patrols,” he report found.

However, the attacks were not less violent, according to the research.

“Many attacks were extremely violent in nature, and victims were tortured and left traumatised. In one incident, a North West couple was left with burns, broken ribs and multiple head wounds after three attackers ambushed them on their farm,” the report said.

Victims brutally tortured in violent farm attacks

The report noted that farm murders did not decrease during the Covid-19 lockdown, as opposed to farm attacks and other crimes, which saw a decrease in the number of incidents reported.

AfriForum also announced its strategy to curb farm attacks and launched the Safeguard a Farm campaign in cooperation with the Southern African Agri Initiative (Saai). The campaign aims to provide farmers with the necessary training to enable them to take their safety in their own hands.

“Although farmers are increasingly more vigilant, it is AfriForum’s aim to make them and their families more defensible against farm attacks. AfriForum will continue to drive projects, actions and campaigns to improve the safety of our farmers and support them where we can,” Marnus Kamfer, AfriForum’s Legal and risk manager said.

The training programme includes safety assessment of farmsteads; training in basic first aid; weapons training and the supply of analogue radio systems and radio training.

“Government cannot continue to ignore the impact of farm attacks and murders on its victims and their communities,” Muller said.

READ: Double farm murder: Two victims, both aged over 80, killed in vicious attack

Via: The South African

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