A Mozambican policeman was shot, apparently by smugglers, near the Lebombo border post and timely assistance by a South African soldier saw to it he was able to receive the necessary medical assistance.
A rifleman was conducting an approved single foot patrol liaising with Mozambican police through the border fence on Friday in the late afternoon.
“Rfn Mathebula and the Mozambican policeman reached the end of their contact patrol point and parted ways,” a statement issued by South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Corporate Communications said.
“The soldier then heard firing which was identified as being AK-47 and pistol. He went to investigate and found the policeman shot in the left foot. The platoon commander was contacted by radio and he in turn contacted operational medics deployed to the area. While waiting for the medics to arrive and stabilise the wounded policeman a decision was taken to move him to the South African side of the border. This would allow for easier transport to Lebombo.
“At Lebombo the policeman was handed to his colleagues for further treatment,” the statement said adding a search of the site where the shooting had taken place had seen an AK-47 assault rifle found. This was handed to Mozambican police to assist in their investigation.
Indications are he was shot by a member of a syndicate smuggling contraband from Mozambique to South Africa.
Just on four weeks ago soldiers deployed as part of Operation Corona in northern KwaZulu-Natal fired shots at a tracking company vehicle apparently in pursuit of stolen cars being driven to Mozambique.
The shooting incident was said to have happened because “due protocol” was not followed by police and the tracking company employees in notifying the military of their presence and intentions in the area.
At least 15 bullet holes were counted in the tracking company vehicle, but no-one was injured and a charge of attempted murder was said to have been laid at Emanguzi Police Station in connection with the incident. The SANDF said an official enquiry into the shooting would take place.