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Hwange soldiers’ trial in new twist

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The police docket of the case involving a Zimbabwe National Army base commander in Hwange, Mpulaeng Siziba, and three of his subordinates who are facing charges of poaching and failure to secure their firearms leading to the death of three family members, has been returned to the police for further investigations.

Lieutenant Colonel Siziba (52) of 1:2 Infantry Battalion 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 in February. All were remanded out of custody on $50 bail each accompanied by stringent conditions.

The trio’s lawyer, Thembelani Khumalo of Cheda and Partners, on Wednesday confirmed the new development.

“There are some issues, which needed clarification and the docket was returned to the police.

“However, my clients will be back in court on Monday for routine remand,” he said.
Charges against the four are that on January 26, Siziba assigned his subordinates to poach game at Railways Farm 53 in the Lubangwe area in Hwange.

The court heard that during the period when Mudimba, Hlabano and Pirukayi 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 the farm from Victoria Falls.

An argument ensued between Ndlovu and his son Mandlenkosi over the presence of the soldiers.

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

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