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JOHANNESBURG – A band of ruthless aliens descended on a small, prosperous South African village, plundered their gold and burned it to the ground!

That is the astounding claim of eyewitnesses who survived the nightmare attack.

“They came out of the sky like locusts, in three enormous spaceships,” recalled horrified George Gwangwa, one of only 60 people who escaped the devastated town of Matlala alive.

“They strode through the village square firing powerful weapons left and right. Those of us who could ran and took cover in the jungle – the others were incinerated where they stood.”

Before the incident, the idyllic village – too small to appear on most maps – was a peaceful vacation site with only 110 year-round residents. Sitting on the bank of a tranquil river, it was home to several wealthy families, a resort hotel and a bustling marketplace renowned for eye-catching gold items.

But on January 2 at about 11:30am, all hell broke loose.

“When the saucers appeared, everyone ran to watch them hover,” said Gwangwa. “Then the spaceships settled gently down and about two dozen tall, hairless creatures with black, inhuman eyes poured out.

“I watched from the bushes as the menacing invaders marched through the marketplace scooping up everything gold they could find – from statues to jewelry. Then they went up ramps to their ships.

As one of the saucers rose, it fired off a deadly parting shot, said Gwangwa. “The town began to take on a reddish glow – and then it burst into flames.”

The government of South Africa is keeping a tight lid on the crisis, officially denying any saucer attacks have taken place.

But UFO researchers consider the incident an ominous sign. “We can only hope that hese were renegade aliens – not acting as part of a larger plan,” noted one expert.