Police refute claims that an 18-year-old-boy from Baberton was shot by police

NELSPRUIT – The police in Mpumalanga strongly refute claims that police shot an 18 year old boy from Barberton, on 27 February 2020. This comes in light of a false story making rounds on social media platforms that police were involved in the shooting incident in the wake of ongoing violent protests raging in Baberton. Police are saying that those spreading false news regarding the death of the boy, want to sow anger in the community and the country with a view to lessen trust between the police as well as the community.

To set the record explicitly clear, on the said day, the victim was with a group of friends and one of them, an 18 year old boy had a firearm in his possession. The firearm allegedly went off and hit the victim in the upper body. Police were then notified about the incident, rushed to the scene and medical personnel were summoned as well where the young man was unfortunately certified dead on the scene. A case of murder was immediately opened and the said firearm seized as well.

As police collected more information, it was revealed through preliminary investigations that the 18 year old suspect was the one who allegedly pulled the trigger. The motive for the shooting is unknown at this stage, however the suspect has already been arrested in connection with the murder.

Further information surfaced and revealed that the firearm was stolen from a police officer during a hijacking incident at Masoyi in January 2020. The investigation thereof is underway and police are still searching for the suspects in connection with the hijacking case.

The suspect is expected to appear in the Barberton Magistrate’s Court tomorrow, Friday 28 February 2020, facing a murder case.

The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma has said that people with malicious intent to dent the image of the police are dangerous to the community because they are liars who often do not want to see police working smoothly with the community. General Zuma cautioned such people to desist from communicating on matters of such nature as the information is misleading and malicious. Rumours making the rounds that the boy was shot by police are false, unfounded and strongly discredit the police maliciously. We have arrested the alleged suspect but the false message continues to misinform the public. We urge those individuals to withdraw their wrong messages and stop unnecessarily damaging the image of the police. Let me also remind the community that firearms are deadly weapons and I therefore strongly urge you to report those possessing them illegally, to prevent unnecessary loss of lives. The proliferation of firearms is of great concern and police are currently conducting the 2019/2020 Firearm Amnesty which commenced on, 01 December 2019 until 31 May 2020, with a clear message appealing to those who are possessing firearms illegally to voluntarily surrender them to their nearest police stations, said General Zuma.

Source: South African Police Service

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