A 23-year-old Zimbabwean man, Mduduzi Mbulelo Mlilo, was buried in Bulawayo on Friday after allegedly being shot dead by a South African soldier at the Limpopo River. Mlilo was reportedly helping border jumpers and smugglers at an illegal crossing point on 02 April when the soldier shot him once in the breast, killing him instantly. He was among a group of 16 smugglers who were intercepted by South African soldiers at an illegal crossing point. His body was taken to Tshilidzini Mortuary in Limpopo Province where it was kept pending police investigations. The soldier who shot him has since been arrested and charged with murder and is set to stand trial at the Musina Regional Court on 15 May.
According to Mduduzi’s father, Dubayi Mlilo, his son was buried at Luveve cemetery. The elder Mlilo was saddened by the incident and hoped that his son would get justice. Witnesses said that Mduduzi was shot while assisting people to smuggle an assortment of goods, mainly onions. They said the soldier jumped from a vehicle and opened fire at Mduduzi while he was standing on the river bank. He then fell into the water, and his body was later retrieved and taken to the mortuary around 8 PM after lying on the riverbed for almost six hours.
This is not the first time that a Zimbabwean national has been killed by South African soldiers. On 15 February this year, a member of the South African Border Guard shot and killed a Zimbabwean man at Beitbridge Border Post. The man was allegedly shot for reprimanding the Border Guards for assaulting an old woman who was picking up empty cans and plastic containers for recycling. The incident occurred at the foot of the New Limpopo Bridge (NLB) on the South African side of the border at around 4 AM.