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By Everson Luhanga

Clinton Howell and his employees were held captive by an armed gang of about 25 men at his business premises.

Howell said the robbers came back after he thought the incident was over, untied them and demanded that they assist the thieves to load the sugar beans they were stealing from the business next door.

They spent another three hours loading the sugar beans under gunpoint.

“As painful as it was to see the stock [of the business next door] being stolen, we had no choice, as the men’s guns were pointed at us for more than six hours while we helped them take all the stock that had been delivered earlier that day.

“It was a devastating experience and since then, I have not worked on the night shift,” Howell told Scrolla.Africa.

Howell said he was on duty during the night shift with two of his employees when a group of armed men stormed into his shop.

First, he said, one of his employees was taken to a granite factory by a man pointing a pistol at him after he returned from the toilet.

When several other people entered, one of them pointed an AK-47 at Howell, he said.

He said the robbers had come in three trucks. They tied his hands and feet and those of the two other employees as well.

They were left on the floor, guarded by some of the armed men.

He said the business next door imported sugar beans from Zimbabwe and the delivery of fresh stock had taken place earlier that day.

“You have to ask how they knew about them. The beans were delivered at around 4pm and they came to rob the place at around 8pm.”

Howell’s business is a few metres away from where a gang of over 20 men stormed and targeted several businesses in Tulisa Park in Johannesburg on Thursday.

In Thursday’s robbery, some of the suspects escaped from the police through the back of the surrounding buildings.

The head of security at the premises, who didn’t want to be named, said such crimes had been taking place around the area before.

“These people are not doing these things blindly. They are well organised and well connected. They are also heavily armed,” he said.

Pictured above: Clinton Howell

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