HomeLocal NewsSoldiers charged over Hwange deaths

Soldiers charged over Hwange deaths

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HWANGE — The Zimbabwe National Army base commander at 1:2 Infantry Battalion in Hwange, Mpulaeng Siziba, and three of his subordinates appeared at the local magistrates’ court yesterday for alleged poaching and failure to secure their firearms, leading to the death of three family members.

Lieutenant Colonel Siziba (52) was jointly charged with Sergeant Lizwe Mudimba (33), Corporal Manatsa Hlabano (32) and Lance Corporal Jameson Pirukayi (24) on four counts of illegal hunting and failure to secure a firearm when they appeared before Hwange magistrate Ailene Madzorera.

They were all remanded out of custody on $50 bail each accompanied by stringent conditions.

Prosecutor Sifelumuzi Fuzane told the court that on January 26, Siziba instructed his subordinates to withdraw three rifles and ammunition from the armoury and further instructed them to get rations from the army quartermaster which would last them four days in preparation for a hunt at Railways Farm 53 in the Lubangwe area in Hwange.

The following day, he allegedly ordered an army truck to transport the three to the farm.

At around 5pm, the trio allegedly shot a kudu and skinned it before transporting it to the barracks.

On January 28, they allegedly shot another kudu and transported it to the barracks. The game was valued at
$3 500.

Two days later, they allegedly shot an impala and another kudu and transported the carcasses to the army base.

The court heard that during the period when Mudimba, Hlabani and Pirikuya were deployed at the farm they kept their rifles behind a broken-down vehicle.

On January 31, Mthandazo Ndlovu, who was the owner of the farm, and his son Honest Ndlovu visited Railways Farm 53 from Victoria Falls.

On arrival Mthandazo found his son Mandlenkosi in the company of the soldiers and confronted him on why he was allowing soldiers to hunt at the farm since this was not within the hunting season.

Mthandazo had a heated exchange with Mandlenkosi, an ex-soldier. In a fit of rage, Mandlenkosi grabbed one of the soldiers’ rifles and shot his father and brother killing them instantly, before turning the gun on himself.

He also died on the spot.

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