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Conductor killed over R5 change

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A commuter omnibus conductor was allegedly shot and killed by a Chitungwiza businessman over R5 change, the court heard.

Report by Charles Laiton Senior Court Reporter

The conductor, Clerk Karase, was allegedly shot at close range in the back at waist level by Lazarus Tichatonga Mabika after the latter accused him of refusing to give change to a passenger.

The incident occurred on March 13, 2010 along Seke Road flyover bus stop when the commuter omnibus on which Karase was the conductor, stopped to drop passengers.

It is alleged the commotion between Mabika and Karase had started at St Martins bus stop along Seke Road when an unidentified passenger asked for his R5 change before disembarking, but Karase refused to give him.

Along the way into town, Mabika allegedly got involved in the matter and started shouting at Karase, accusing him of ill-treating passengers.

As the commuter omnibus approached Coca-Cola bus stop, Mabika allegedly attempted to manhandle Karase, but was restrained by other commuters on board.

It is alleged as the bus again stopped to drop passengers at the Seke Road flyover bus stop, Mabika alighted and started wrestling with Karase.

During the scuffle, it is alleged, Mabika produced a Star pistol and upon realising he was armed, Karase retreated, but Mabika fired a single shot aiming at him.

The fired bullet hit Karase at the back on the waist level and ripped through his abdomen, killing him instantly.

Mabika was immediately arrested by patrolling police officers with the assistance of members of public.

Mabika appeared before High Court judge Justice Joseph Musakwa on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to a murder charge. He is out of custody on bail.

In his defence, Mabika told the court that he never intended to kill Karase, but simply pulled out the pistol to scare him and other marauding touts who wanted to assault him. Mabika said the pistol accidentally discharged when Karase jumped on him intending to attack him and in the process was shot below the navel.

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