Zimbabwe Embassy engages South Africa hosts over cross-border bus shooting

The Chronicle

Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau 

TWO women were shot and killed when three armed men robbed a Zimbabwean-bound bus in the Bela-Bela area in Limpopo province, South Africa yesterday morning.

Another woman was seriously injured during the shooting.

The bus was travelling from Pretoria to Harare when tragedy struck.

The Zimbabwe Embassy, through its consulate in Johannesburg, has engaged the host government to establish facts around the case.

“We heard about the incident in the morning (yesterday). So, we are having a team on the ground working together with host government authorities to establish more facts on this very sad incident. 

“We will update once we establish all the details including identities of the deceased,” said Zimbabwe’s Consul General to Johannesburg, Mrs Melody Chaurura.

Limpopo police spokesperson, Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said they were yet to make arrests and appealed to anyone with information regarding the identities of the gunmen to approach the nearest police station.

“The police in Bela-Bela have opened two counts of murder, attempted murder and armed robbery after two women were shot dead and the other injured while travelling in a bus in the early hours of Thursday morning,” said Brig Mojapelo. He said the three suspects boarded the bus at Bosman in Pretoria. 

The bus belonging to Copperbelt Bus Company, reportedly left Pretoria around 1 AM yesterday morning. 

“As it passed Mantsole Weigh Bridge along the N1 road, one of the suspects allegedly produced a firearm and shot through the front windscreen, forcing the driver to pull over,” said Brig Mojapelo. 

“The other suspects shot three women, instantly killing two and critically injuring the other. All other passengers were then ordered to disembark and lie on the ground. 

“After which, the trio robbed the complainants of their belongings, including cash, cellphones and passports.”

He said the suspects left the scene in a getaway car that had been trailing the bus.

Limpopo police commander, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe yesterday issued an order for the police to hunt the suspects and bring them to book. 

Of late, Zimbabwean cross-border buses have become a target of violent crimes between Pretoria and Polokwane.

Over 15 buses have been attacked by armed gangs in the last 24 months.

In February 2020, two men armed with guns stormed another Zimbabwean-bound cross-border bus and robbed 58 passengers and crew of thousands of rands and other property between Pretoria and Polokwane in South Africa

The two suspects shot at the Croswell Logistics bus, which was on its way to Harare, on the NI highway near Zebediella, forcing the driver to stop.

They ordered everyone off the bus before taking their money, cellphones and other property.

The bus driver, Mr Thembane Ngwenya, said he survived death by a whisker after two bullets missed his head by inches.

During the robbery, the duo who had pretended to be passengers demanded R40 000 from Mr Ngwenya which they claimed he was given by someone to take to Zimbabwe.

“Considering the recurrence of such incidents, it is high time the bus owners considered installing metal detectors on the bus doors,” said a Beitbridge resident and regular traveller, Mr Zibusiso Ndlovu.

“In addition, parliamentarians should also craft laws that will allow the cross-border bus operators to use security equipment like these or to employ security details (who will play undercover roles in buses) to safeguard passengers’ lives”. — @tupeyo

Article Source: The Chronicle

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