By Richard Muponde
A THREE-year-old baby died and her mother was injured when a firearm belonging to a Gwanda businessman accidentally discharged when they were travelling in a truck along the Gwanda–Beitbridge highway.
The businessman, Matthew Ngoma (43) and his colleague, David Dube (40) — who was holding the rifle when the accident happened on Monday — have since been arrested.
The two were on their way to the businessman’s farm in West Nicholson with the woman and her daughter in the same truck when the firearm accidentally discharged.
It could not be established where the woman and her daughter were going at the time of the incident.
Matabeleland South police spokesperson Inspector Philisani Ndebele said Ngoma and Dube will appear in court soon.
“Dube was sitting in a truck which was being driven by Ngoma, his colleague who is also the owner of the licensed Hornet 2.22 rifle. Dube was seated at the back of the truck holding the firearm which was loaded with one round.
“The vehicle hit some bumps and the firearm discharged hitting the child’s mother Sikhulile Sibanda who was a passenger in the same truck on the hand.
“Her three-year-old child was hit on the rib cage and she died on the spot. The deceased has been identified as Andile Ndlovu of Sizinda in Bulawayo,” said Insp Ndebele.
“Dube, who was holding the firearm, is being charged with the murder of the child and attempted murder of the mother. Ngoma the owner of the firearm is being charged with contravening section 20.2 of the Firearm Act — for letting his rifle fall into the hands of an unlicensed person.”
He appealed to members of the public who hold licenced firearms to keep them secure so that they do not fall into wrong hands.
“We appeal to all firearm licence holders to handle their firearms with caution and keep them in secure places. They should not release them to unlicensed people.
“We also urge them not to drive with loaded firearms. A firearm is lethal and once you make a mistake, that can lead to the death of a person,” said Insp Ndebele. The Chronicle