Zim man killed by SA soldier buried in Bulawayo
Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
A 23-year-old man who was last week shot and killed by a South African soldier at Limpopo River where he was allegedly assisting irregular migrants and smugglers was buried in Bulawayo on Friday.
Mduduzi Mbulelo Mlilo was among a group of 16 smugglers who were intercepted by South African soldiers on April 2 at an illegal crossing point. Since then, his body was being kept at Tshilidzini Mortuary in Limpopo Province pending police investigations.
The soldier who shot him once on the left breast has since been arrested and charged with murder. He is set to stand trial at the Musina Regional Court on May 15.
Father to the now-deceased, Mr Dubayi Mlilo confirmed that his son was buried at Luveve cemetery. He said he did not face any challenges repatriating the body from South Africa.
Mr Mlilo said border authourities at Beitbridge also made the process seamless. “This is devastating; my son was killed just like that. If they were really implementing the law, they could have arrested him and taken him to court,” he said. “We have had an update from the police and we will follow the case with interest.”
He said according to witnesses, Mduduzi was shot while assisting people to smuggle an assortment of goods, mainly onions. Mr Mlilo said his son was killed by one of the soldiers, who were allegedly conducting motorized patrols.
The soldier is alleged to have jumped from a vehicle and opened fire at Mduduzi while standing on the river bank. He then fell into the water and his body was later retrieved and taken to the mortuary around 8PM after lying on the riverbed for almost six hours.
“We are quiet saddened by this incident and we hope he will get justice,” said Mr Mlilo. The incident came a few weeks after a member of the Border Management Authority (border guards) shot and killed another Zimbabwean man for reprimanding soldiers for assaulting an elderly woman,
The incident occurred at the foot of the New Limpopo Bridge (NLB) on the South African side of the border.