One pupil dead and one injured in gang-suspected shooting

2014-11-13 00:00

A GANG war is thought to be behind a shooting yesterday that left a Pietermaritzburg primary schoolboy dead on the muddy ground outside his school, while his wounded class-mate is fighting for his life in hospital.

Akhona Nakile (15) and his friend Lindokuhle Thabethe (17) had just walked out of Umsilinga Primary School, in the Ezinketheni area just above Copesville, when they were confronted by a 13-year-old Copesville High School pupil touting a 9mm pistol.

A scuffle erupted and Akhona was shot in the neck. The shooter then chased Lindokuhle, shooting him in the stomach a few metres away.

Lindokuhle was rushed to Grey’s Hospital in a critical condition.

Akhona’s teacher, who would not be named, said he was pronounced dead when police arrived.

Yesterday yellow police tape kept the distraught crowd at bay as fellow pupils fell to the ground in tears.

“He was such a good person. I am full of sorrow to have my friend gone,” one of Akhona’s friends said with tears gushing down his face.

Locals huddled together as frantic screams of shock erupted from the large crowd that had gathered.

The teacher described the commotion he heard from inside the school. “I heard a shot. I thought it was a firecracker.

“I saw pupils running and crying, and then a pupil told me someone had been shot,” he said.

When Akhona’s family arrived at the scene, his aunt, Sindiswa Zolakha, forced her way through police and yellow tape, collapsing a few metres before her nephew’s lifeless body.

The family knelt together next to the body as police and onlookers tried to console them.

Nomakholwa Nakile, Akhona’s cousin, described him as a talkative young man who loved to sing.

The boy’s social science teacher said both pupils were kind and good.

“They were both friendly and motivated. I’m shocked that this happened,” he said.

Umsilinga principal Shovashni Essa said she had never seen anything like this in her 30 years of teaching and that she did not know why anybody would do this.

Pupils at the scene said they suspected conflict between gangs was behind the shooting.

The police K9 unit arrested the shooter late yesterday afternoon and an unlicensed 9 mm pistol was seized from the boy.

A police source, who could not be named, said officers had to take the shooter and run through a livid mob who wanted to burn the boy alive for his actions.

The shooter has been charged with murder and attempted murder at Mountain Rise Police Station.

Lindokuhle remains in a critical condition as surgeons operated on his severe injuries late into yesterday afternoon.

The Witness learnt that Akhona’s dad had died recently. It was unclear where his mother was.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

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