A POLICE officer stationed at Hwange Police Station allegedly accidentally shot a colleague, who later died, during a high speed chase with suspected poachers on Sunday night. Doctors at Hwange Colliery Hospital reportedly battled for more than six hours in a vain attempt to save Constable Faxon Maphosa (34) who eventually succumbed to the injuries yesterday morning.
A police oɗcer identified as Moses Ndebele allegedly shot Cst Maphosa in the abdomen and the bullet exited through his back. Ndebele had allegedly jumped into a pursuit vehicle with the safety catch on his gun off and he accidentally discharged the firearm. Cst Maphosa was part of an anti-poaching team that had gone into Hwange National Park to ambush suspected poachers following a tip off from an unknown informant.
Hwange Local Board Ward 7 Councillor Wilson Maphosa, who is Cst Maphosa’s uncle, conÒrmed the incident. “I received a phone call in the evening that Faxon had been rushed to hospital after he was shot by a colleague. Doctors and nurses spent the whole night trying to resuscitate him but he died in the morning,” said Cllr Maphosa
He said the incident was “terrible and shocked the family” as Cst Maphosa had been transferred to Hwange from Chivhu a fortnight ago. National police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba could not confirm the shooting saying she was yet to receive a report. “I can’t comment on that because I haven’t received any report or heard of anything like that,” she said.
A source close to the incident said the anti-poaching team, which comprised of police and Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers, was tipped off by an unknown source that poachers were planning a raid at Hwange National Park. “A tip off was made that some poachers driving in an Elgrand were on their way to Sinamatela Camp through Makomo Resources Mine main gate.
“The anti-poaching team readied itself and laid an ambush at Makomo gate. The suspected poachers arrived driving in the said vehicle but immediately made a U-turn after seeing that they had been spotted and drove off into the park,” said the source. The source said the anti-poaching team also jumped into a vehicle and gave chase as the suspects drove off at high speed. “Unfortunately one of the oɗcers had loaded his gun and forgot to lock the safety catch and it accidentally discharged and hit Cst Maphosa in the abdomen,” added the source.