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SITEKI – Drama unfolded on Monday evening when a 20-year-old man grabbed an R4 rifle from a police officer and opened fire at a Shoulder homestead.

The sound of gunfire sent two police officers and residents scampering for cover at Matjeni, about three kilometres from the densely populated Mzilikazi township. According to a family member, two men came with police officers from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), on board a police van, to record a statement and collect exhibits of certain stolen items, at around 3pm. The family member asked to comment on condition of anonymity in fear of being victimised. The particulars of the two men are known but will not be disclosed as they have not been arrested and charged with the crime.


The family member said upon stopping at the homestead, one police officer went to open the door of the canopy to let out the two men, who appeared to be in leg irons. They were to lead the law enforcers to a house in which there were supposedly two cellphones stolen from an Asian national around the Siteki town. The family member stated that one of the suspects was arrested on Sunday, and the police officers further collected his alleged accomplice after establishing that he was also connected to the theft.

It could not be ascertained how the suspects had removed the leg irons as one of them suddenly grabbed the gun from one of the police officers and ran towards a nearby forest, followed by his accomplice. The source shared that one of the police officers fired two shots using a pistol but the suspects continued to run, while one of them was trying to engage the automatic mode of the rifle. He said after a couple of minutes, the sound of gunshots reverberated around the homestead as the suspect opened fire, using the R4 rifle, sending the police officers and residents who had convened around the home into hiding.

The source stated that the suspect fired aimlessly towards the homestead, prompting the police officers to call for backup. Suspicion was rife that the suspects had eased the leg irons while they were in the back of the van. Furthermore, he added that three police vans, with about 20 police officers from the Operational Support Services Unit (OSSU) and another van with about 10 soldiers, arrived at the homestead about an hour later. At that time, he said, the suspects had vanished into a nearby bush, leaving the gun behind. It was found by the police officers and soldiers as they combed the forest.

The source said at around 6pm, the police officers and the army personnel left the homestead but not before searching all houses within the family compound. Moreover, he mentioned that the police officers also came yesterday morning to collect more evidence at the scene of the shooting, still searching for the wanted men.


“They told my family and community members to share information about the suspects,” he said. Adding, the family member mentioned that they did not condone crime. He further stated that he hated crime hence even if the wanted men were aiming the gun at him for being a whistle-blower, he would have insisted on the truth. A community member, who asked that his identity be concealed for safety, observed that there was a remarkable rise in crime around the Mzilikazi community.

The resident stated that community police members were being targeted by the offenders as they were described as whistle-blowers. “The offenders are known around the community and when crime happens, people are afraid to report to the police in fear of their lives. In this case, the criminals are targeting community police members due to the fact that they work closely with the police in curbing crime,” said the resident.