A South African National Defence Force soldier – on the run for two days after a bloody shooting spree – spent several hours in the hands of the military before being handed over to the SA Police Service.
While the official police line was that he handed himself over at 7pm on Thursday night‚ TimesLIVE can reveal that he actually arrived at his family home in civilian clothes earlier that morning.
He was carrying his military issue assault rifle – the same weapon he allegedly used to kill his girlfriend’s sister and injure three others including a police officer.
The man‚ whose name is known to TimesLIVE‚ was held in army custody for several hours at his family homestead in Ebuhleni‚ Inanda‚ before he was transported under guard to the Inanda police station.
However‚ his whereabouts for the two days that followed his shooting spree on Tuesday remain shrouded in mystery.
He’s accused of storming a family home while looking for his girlfriend whom he believed was cheating on him. Inside he gunned down her sister and wounded another relative.
In a second shooting a while later – after he kidnapped his girlfriend’s brother to make him help search for her – he wounded a police officer who confronted him.
Another person was also injured‚ bringing the total to three injured and one dead.
It is understood that he had been under army guard to protect him from his own community and members of the police.
According to a well-placed source‚ who spoke to TimesLIVE on condition on anonymity‚ the soldier had made contact with an attorney to facilitate his surrender – largely to save his own life.
“The situation was tense. We were worried that the community might take matters into their own hands‚” the source said.
SANDF spokesperson Mafi Mgobozi said that his family homestead had been the staging point for the surrender.
TimesLIVE was chased away from the house on Thursday‚ and it later became apparent that the soldier was actually at the house at the time.
“We received a call in the morning at about 11am‚ so we went to Inanda where we made some arrangements and then he came and handed himself over at about 2pm. Contact was made between the suspect and our own military police because he didn’t want to hand himself over to the police. He is our member‚ it was our duty to take him into custody‚” Mgobozi said.
Mgobozi said that the soldier‚ who had initially disappeared on foot in fully army gear including his body armour‚ had feared that the police might kill him.
“If you have been involved in a shooting with the police‚ you are obviously going to be afraid to have to hand yourself over to them. He brought his rifle with him and he handed it over to the military police. He was wearing civilian clothing and was not in his military uniform‚” he said.
He faces charges of murder‚ attempted murder and kidnapping and is expected to appear in court next week.
– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE