By Sisho Magagula | 2018-01-14
A man died on the spot and another is battling for his life after they were allegedly shot at close range while hand-cuffed by rangers near a private farm in Lavumisa.
A 22-year-old man Mxolisi Mbhamali of Lavumisa is lucky to be alive after he was shot by the rangers from a farm only known as ka Skeepers in Lavumisa on November 10, 2017 and his partner, only identified as Zwane, was not lucky enough to survive the incident.
The two are alleged to have been shot by three rangers after being found loitering next to the farm around 1am and in possession of two protected game, namely inyala and a wild bird.
They were handcuffed, and shot in the legs and abdomen.
Nxumalo was shot in both legs and Zwane was certified dead on arrival at the Good Shepherd Hospital after having been shot in the abdomen by the rangers.
Nxumalo is currently battling for his life at the Mbabane Government Hospital and awaiting an operation in which doctors are expected to remove about 13 small bullet pallets of a 12 bore shotgun from his right leg.
The operation is expected to be undertaken tomorrow morning.
In an interview from his hospital bed with the Sunday Observer yesterday, Mbhamali admitted that they had been poaching at the private farm on the night and were outside of the farm when trouble started.
“We were outside of the farm and inspecting our car which had developed mechanical faults.
As we were still busy with the car, we saw two people approaching us and Zwane whistled to alert them to assist us with the vehicle. Little did we know that the people we were alerting were actually farm rangers. There were three of them, two were carrying guns while the other a sjambok. Zwane was carrying a gun and they confiscated it from him before handcuffing us,” he said.
Mbhamali said while they were still pleading with the rangers to forgive and let them go, one of them pulled the trigger and shot Zwane on the abdomen at close range.
“Zwane fell into the ground and the ranger turned and shot me on both legs several times. I rolled on the ground and disappeared into the thick bushes. I thereafter heard them calling the police on their mobile phones,” he said.
Mbhamali said police officers from the Lubulini Police Station arrived promptly and started searching for him in the bushes since it was dark.
“They found me sprawling on the ground.
They removed the handcuffs and threw me into the police van. I saw Zwane still lying on the ground, motionless. I was rushed to Good Shepherd Hospital where I was admitted,” he said.
Mbhamali said a few days later, he heard that Zwane had died. Mbhamali was released from Good Shepherd on November 29, 2017.
However, he was re-admitted into the Hlathikhulu Government Hospital after experiencing severe pains on the right leg.
This was on January 3, 2018.
“The Hlatikhulu government hospital transferred me to here (Mbabane Government) after realising that the severe pain was caused by the bullets that are still lodged into my leg,” he said.
Both his legs are in bandages and he is walking with the aid of crutches.
‘They want me dead too’
Hospital are generally considered to be a safe place for individuals.
However, this is not the case for Mxolisi Mbhamali who survived the late-night onslaught by rangers from a private farm in Lavumisa.
Mbhamali does not feel safe at the Mbabane Government Hospital since he believes the rangers who shot him and his partner last November are still hot in his pursuit and want to finish him off.
In an interview yesterday, the self-confessed poacher said he had been reliably informed that the rangers were still looking for him.
“I am living in fear since I have been informed that the people who shot me and my friend are still looking for me. I have been told that they arrived at Good Shepherd Hospital looking for me soon after I had been discharged. I am not safe here,” he said.
Mbhamali said he wanted the world to know that should anything happen to him, the rangers from the private farm should be considered the prime suspects.
He said he had even told his parents that the rangers were still after him.
“They want to kill me like they did with Zwane,” he said.
So terrified is Mbhamali such that when reporters from this publication visted him yesterday, he was first reluctant to grant the interview.
“How do I know you are not part of the people who want to kill me,” he asked. The reporters had a tough time trying to convince him that he should rest easy since they were not part of the people who are allegedly after him.
On another note, Mbhamali said it was his wish to sue the rangers for the shooting incident which might render him permanently disabled.
“The challenge is that I am currently financially unstable but I really wish I could sue them. I do not understand why the rangers did not arrest and surrender us to the police who would have formally charged us. Shooting us and killing Zwane was totally uncalled for because we did not even resist arrest,” he said.
When reached for comment, Police Chief Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Khulani Mamba briefly said according to the police, the rangers complied with the law in handling the matter of the two poachers.
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