Five men arrived at a Free State farm posing as police officers and moments later one of them and a farm manager were left dead with gunshot wounds.

Police have now launched a manhunt for four suspects as they try to put the pieces together on what could have transpired on Saturday evening. 

The farm manager was identified as 37-year-old Janus ‘Boeta’ Powell, Network24 reported.

Police spokesperson Thando Mbambo said they believed Powell, who managed the Rietvlei Farm in the Hoopstad area, was shot by the “bogus” police officers at about 18:30.

Preliminary investigation has revealed that ” five heavily armed occupants” of a white Toyota Camry arrived at the farm with one clad in police uniform and the other one in a police reflector jacket. 

Police said the suspects’ vehicle was also fitted with a blue light. 

“Apparently, the occupants said they were looking for a person who skipped bail and they introduced themselves as police officers. They could not find the person they were looking for and drove away and the farm manager accompanied them as he had to open and close the gate,” said Mbambo.

“It is not known what transpired at the gate but Hoopstad police were informed of a shooting incident on the farm. On arrival, two bodies were found with gunshot wounds.”

Mbambo said the man in a police reflector jacket had not yet been identified. Powell’s private firearm was missing.

“The suspects are still at large and a manhunt has been launched. The cluster Commander of Welkom, Major General Lerato Molale, has condemned the senseless killing and asked the residents to assist in tracing these fake police officers,” she said.

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