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South Africa: minister robbed, bodyguards stripped of their weapons

South Africa: minister robbed, bodyguards stripped of their weapons
South Africa National Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga   -  
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South Africa

They "held a gun to my head": South Africa's transport minister said on Tuesday that she had been robbed near Johannesburg in a bizarre attack on the car in which she was travelling.

On Monday, Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga was driving along a major artery on the outskirts of the economic capital. According to the Ministry of Transport, the car was suddenly forced to a halt after driving over spikes that were probably deliberately placed in its path.

This "immobilised the car and allowed the criminals to steal valuables", the administration said in a statement.

The minister's bodyguards then got out of the vehicle to change the tyres, when three armed and "well-dressed" men, their faces hidden under balaclavas, appeared, Ms Chikunga told a parliamentary meeting.

"They opened my door (...), put a gun to my head and ordered me out", she said, describing the experience as "traumatic and devastating".

The men demanded money," continued the minister, adding that she only had the equivalent of ten euros on her person. Ms Chikunga also said that her laptop and phone had been taken.

According to a police statement, the bodyguards were robbed of their weapons: "Personal effects and two firearms were stolen".

A manhunt has been launched and an investigation launched into the armed robbery.

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