hijack

How I emerged from a hijacking unscathed

Always Remember that the truck and it’s cargo is insured!

Truck hijackings occur every day, worrying about being attacked in your truck is a gloomy, but unfortunately not misplaced, past-time in South Africa.

“I survived, and so can you,”

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There are a few things that I did which may have helped me come out unscathed.

Surrender

I was rudely awakened from my sleep by the shattering of the left door glass. As I opened my eyes I came face to face with probably a 9mm pistol ready to send me to heaven if I dared resist.

“Thank God I did not panic”

Gently I lifted my hands up in surrender. The hijacker tried to open the door from outside but I told him it would only open from inside.

Instead he forced himself in through the window area with a second one right behind him.

“Where is your gun, give me your knife?” asked the first hijacker. “I don’t have any of the two,” I replied.

He asked me if the truck had a tracker of which I confirmed.

“How about the trailer?” he asked again.

“I don’t know,” I responded.

Comply, comply and comply

Immediately, I was ordered to sleep on my tummy with my hands at the back. They tied my hands together as one of them jumped onto the driver’s seat.

The keys were still on the ignition so he just started the truck. After filling up the pressure he tried to move off but was struggling, a minute or two went by as he struggled to move.

“All this time I am praying that it all end well”

Without thinking, I offered to drive for them. Conversing in Suthu, they argued between themselves whether or not they should let me.

Eventually the gunman who was guarding me started untying me. As he did that he was kindly telling me how easy it would be for him to end my life. He reminded me that I was of no value compared to whatever I was hauling even if it turned out to be a load of empty boxes.

Stay composed

I remained calm to the extend that I told them I understood they were working and would respect that.

“Very good, we don’t expect any funny moves from you then,” he said in response.

I took the wheel and started driving.

There was confusion in my mind as another thought suggested I just block off the whole highway, jump out and run.

“Or should I apply harsh brakes, these guys are not buckled on hence they will obviously be thrown out through the screen at once?”

“What if that fails?”

“Dear God, I have not done anything wrong to these men. Please let me come out of this unharmed. My family, God, I want to see them grow, who will take care of them if I’m hurt or get killed. Please God,” I prayed as I drove on.

Read also: Truck driver shot, left paralysed in attempted hijacking

In the mean time the men were calling someone to come and take over the wheel.

“God take control”

I have become all religious in an instant and told myself I will ride along and let God’s will be done.

After about 10 minutes driving they instructed me to pull off and I complied.

A few metres ahead parked a white VW Polo from where another guy came while another left from the truck.

“Did he give you any problems?” asked the suspect who just came.

“No, he did not and he has been very cooperative,” replied his accomplice.

“Don’t be fooled by these drivers they act like they are complying while they plan horror in their heads,” he said.

“My God, if these men don’t trust me they will harm me, but what else can I do if complying is not good enough for them,” I thought to myself as terror filled my mind.

He went on to tell me of a hijacking in which the driver ‘tried to be clever’. They threw him out of a moving truck with his hands still tied to the back.

It was indeed true that a truck driver from Durban was critically injured after being thrown from a moving truck by cruel hijackers in Mpumalanga.

A million prayers

In my millionth prayer, I prayed for God to forgive me for all the sins that I have comitted.

“God, you know where this will end, if it’s my time to die may you please forgive me for the sins I have committed here on earth. If however, there is a chance that I will survive, I promise to be a very good man and follow all your commandments,” I prayed without even closing my prayer knowing there was more of them to come until the end of the terror ride.

They stopped the truck to open the container so that they could check what it was loaded with.

“The keys for the container lock are on the same bunch on the ignition,” I told them, not even waiting for them to ask.

The driver left me with the gunman and went away to check the container.

If in doubt do not fire

“Can I ask the gunman not to harm me?, but what if he takes it as being ‘too clever’,” I quietly quizzed myself.

Moments later the driver came back and we were back on the road.

All this time, I’m lying on my tummy with strict instructions not to make any funny moves. I don’t know where we are headed but I assume we are still going towards Johannesburg since I never felt the truck make a sharp turn.

An hour and half, and many prayers later I felt the truck come to a halt.

“Where is your winder,” asked one of the suspects after they realised they needed one to wind the landing legs down but I did not have it.

“Take a screw driver from the left boot and use it, I don’t have a winder,” I replied giving a solution first.

They managed to unhitch the trailer and asked me where the load was going to.

Horse only, they drove me to Long Meadow where they dumped me.

“You have been very cooperative, don’t lose it on the last hurddle. We are leaving you here but there are people watching you. Only start untying your hands after 30 minutes if you want to live,” the final commandments were read to me.

“We have left R30 for you in the ash tray, buy food while you wait for help,” he said before leaving.

Still face down and unaware where I was, I gladly complied. Freedom was just minutes away.

I heard people talking as they walked past and knew I was indeed safe now.

About five minutes later I struggled to lift my heard and saw that I was in an industrial area. It was early hours of the morning and people were going to work.

After I managed to untie myself, I found out that the keys were missing, they had taken away my cellphone too.

The R30 was there as promised only that my wallet with slightly more than R700 was missing.

I later asked for help from a passing private security reaction car to take me to the police.

After reporting to the police and informing my boss, the trailer was recovered in Germiston before they could offload offload even one piece.

In all this and other hijacking stories I have learnt that to increase your chances of emerging from a hijacking unscathed you have to:

  • Try not to panic
  • Surrender everything
  • Comply with instruction
  • Know that you are worthless in the eyes of the hijacker compared to your load
  • Don’t make sudden movements
  • Show the hijacker he is the boss
  • Know that the truck and cargo are insured
  • Pray, pray and pray

The writer, who does not want his identity to be revealed, was hijacked just outside Mont Vista garage on N3. He says he parked off for a power nap on the roadside before the robbers pounced. He was later dumped just a kilometre from his delivery address.

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