HomeLocal NewsSoldier jailed for killing civilian

Soldier jailed for killing civilian

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AN Air Force of Zimbabwe employee, Babbington Nyaruwe, has been jailed for five years after he pumped eight live bullets into Taurai Zharengi, a civilian, killing him instantly following a family row.

Report by Charkes Laiton

But Nyaruwe will serve an effective two years in prison after three years were suspended on condition of good behaviour.

Circumstances into the matter were that sometime in December 2005, Taurai’s father Timothy Zharengi had a misunderstanding with his daughter Fungai over an unpaid debt which resulted in Taurai’s intervention.

After failing to contain his son, Timothy sought the assistance of army personnel from Manyame Air Base where Nyaruwe and one Muza Zivai were tasked to attend to the scene by their superiors.

Upon getting to the family farm in Hatfield, Nyaruwe, who was armed with an AK assault rifle, confronted Taurai and ordered him to accompany them to the air base, but the latter refused, prompting the soldiers to apply force in a bid to arrest him.
However, as the tussling ensued, Taurai managed to free himself and took to his heels.

Nyaruwe then fired eight shots at his back, killing him instantly.

Nyaruwe told High Court judge Justice Hlekani Mwayera last week that he did not intentionally fire the shots at his victim, saying his AK assault rifle jammed while on automatic mode.

He said he had fired warning shots, but his firearm continued discharging bullets only to stop when he removed its magazine.

“The firearm was not in danger of being taken by the now deceased since he was already fleeing. The killing was not justifiable in the circumstances and the force used cannot be reasonably justified. Warning shots are not shot at a target, but in the air,” Justice Mwayera said.

“Clearly overzealousness took over his actions and that depicts negligence which caused a loss of life. Accused exhibited immaturity. Discipline is part of the army training but accused lacked such.”

In passing sentence, Justice Mwayera said a charge of murder with actual intent could not be sustained.

She then convicted him of culpable homicide.

“However, it is apparent that the deceased was shot when he was fleeing from the scene. Assuming the now deceased wanted to disarm the accused, the fear was no longer there because he was already fleeing,” Justice Mwayera said.

According to the doctor’s report, the shots were fired from close range at a distance of about 20 metres.

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