A MEMBER of the Zimbabwe National Army Beitbridge 1 Independent Company at dusk on Saturday allegedly fatally shot a worshipper at a prayer site close to their camp in the border town.
Two of the suspected three soldiers clad in camouflage, one of whom opened fire, fled the scene after realising they had killed an unarmed civilian.
The deceased was leading a sermon on a hill with a handful of other prayer warriors when he was shot.
The officer commanding Beitbridge Police District Chief Superintendent Tichaona Nyongo confirmed the incident, but did not give details.
“I left the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) team still making follow ups and have not gotten any feedback as yet,” he said.
The officer commanding 1 Independent Company at Beitbridge Major Ndumiso Ncube did not respond to questions sent to him.
NewsDay understands that the deceased, shot while holding his church walking stick, was with Celeb Angu (26), Trevious Masingake (24), Takawira Maddie (52) Zephania Mangondo (37), Farai Bosvo (39) and two infants aged two and three when they were attacked.
Masingake later informed the police.
The group, led by the now-deceased, parked their Toyota Wish car about 500 metres from the Beitbridge Aerodrome to go uphill to a well-known prayer site for an all-night session.
Just after alighting from their car, the soldiers, all armed with AK-47 rifles and whose camp is 500 metres from the site, approached them.
One of the soldiers, without provocation, aimed his rifle at the worshippers and shot the deceased just below the left armpit.
Other worshippers are said to have fled, save for Sangu, Bosvo and one Steven Chiremba.
The soldiers gave a chase, but failed to catch the worshippers and returned.
They then ordered the remaining three to lie down, telling them that they were under arrest for an unspecified offence.
It was then that the soldiers realised they had killed one of the worshippers and fled the scene, leaving a colleague behind, who kept shouting “Koza come back” to his colleagues.
Sengu and other church members later regrouped and walked to Beitbridge Police Station, where a report under Beitbridge Urban RRB3961509 was made.