It couldn’t have been more brazen.
South African television journalist Vuyo Mvoko was standing on a busy thoroughfare in front of a Johannesburg hospital preparing for a live broadcast when four armed men accosted the crew, demanding their cellphones and threatening to shoot them.
The faces of the robbers were clearly visible Tuesday evening as they ordered the TV crew members to hand over their phones, valuables and equipment. A YouTube video of the incident had already reached 608,000 views by Wednesday afternoon.
South Africa’s rate of violent crime – murders, hijackings and assaults – is among the highest in the world. However, swift attacks in which the victim is forced to hand over valuables at gunpoint or knife point often go unreported.
The journalist from SABC, South Africa’s state-owned television network, who was covering the arrival of Zambian President Edgar Lungu for medical treatment in South Africa, looked uneasy as a group of men swooped in, demanding cellphones.
One of the robbers threatened him with a gun, Mvoko later told SABC news.
SABC reporter Chriselda Lewis and foreign editor Sophie Mokoena were also targeted in the attack. Lewis said the men threatened: “Kill these dogs!”
After walking off camera, Mvoko can be heard telling the studio news producer, “We’re being mugged, we’re being mugged.”
South African police said officers drove around the area looking for the bandits but found no one. Appeals have been launched for anyone who recognizes the gunmen to come forward.
Gauteng Police Commissioner Lt. Gen. Lesetja Mothiba told SABC that the police were working to solve the crime.
“We are shocked at the brazen nature of this crime," he said. "The cameraman managed to film the incident and the faces of the suspects could be clearly seen.”
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