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Monday, 23 April, 2001, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
Aids boy's robbery ordeal
Nkosi Johnson
Nkosi hit the headlines at last year's Aids conference
Three armed men have robbed the Johannesburg home of dying 12-year-old South African Aids activist Nkosi Johnson.

His foster mother, Gail Johnson, said the robbers broke in early on Monday, held up a nurse who was watching over Nkosi and threatened to shoot her if she made any noise.

Ms Johnson said she thought Nkosi, who has Aids-related brain damage and has been semi-comatose since early January, had witnessed the robbery.

They are lucky I don't have a gun otherwise I would have killed them.

Gail Johnson
The nurse overheard one of the robbers telling the boy to close his eyes before they fled with electrical goods and Ms Johnson's car keys.

Ms Johnson said she believed she scared the robbers off when she woke up and ran to Nkosi's room to see what was happening.

"I don't know what this is going to do to him, as he saw everything," she said. "I am very angry and scared. This is a tragedy.

"They covered the nurse with a duvet and pointed a handgun at her and told her that she had to keep quiet, otherwise they would shoot her."

Dying icon

Ms Johnson said she had asked for police protection, but had been told there was a shortage of manpower.

Gail Johnson
His foster mother is distraught
"I am going to have to organise 24-hour security now," she said. "They are lucky I don't have a gun, otherwise I would have killed them."

Nkosi was born HIV-positive in Johannesburg in 1989 and given just nine months to live, but he survived and on 4 February turned 12.

The schoolboy became a leading public figure in the fight against HIV and Aids in 1997 after a group of parents opposed his admission to school because of his HIV status.

At last year's World Aids Conference, he made a moving plea to President Thabo Mbeki to give victims of the disease anti-retroviral drugs.

However, today Nkosi can no longer speak, walk or eat.

Some 70,000 children are born HIV-positive in South Africa every year. The country is thought to have between 500,000 and 800,000 Aids orphans.

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See also:

19 Apr 01 | Africa
Joy at SA Aids drugs victory
04 Feb 01 | Africa
Aids boy too ill for birthday
10 Jan 01 | Africa
Child Aids icon close to death
10 Jan 01 | Africa
Aids threat to SA education
14 Jan 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Words of hope from child Aids victim
19 Apr 00 | Health
South Africa Aids crisis worsens
10 Jul 00 | Africa
Stark warning over Aids apathy
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