Soldier shot at infantry base in Ladysmith

2011-02-26 00:00

AN unidentified soldier was shot dead by a military guard at the 5 South African Infantry (5SAI) Battalion army base in Ladysmith on Thursday evening.

Sources at the army base said the shooting happened at the gates of the base at about 8.40 pm, and both soldiers involved are riflemen.

The deceased was alleged to have been under the influence of alcohol, an allegation which has not been confirmed by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

“Our colleague always threw his weight around when he was drunk. At about 7 pm before the shooting a report was filed against him that he was picking on a guard at the gate and this was then reported to our seniors who did not attend to the matter immediately.

“Before the fatal gun shot rang out there was physical contact between the deceased and the guard,” said the source.

He said that last week the soldierhad picked on another defence member at the gate and a report was also filed.

A communication officer for the SA Army Infantry Formation, Major Merl Meyer, said all the allegations made can only be confirmed after the investigation by the army police and SA Police Force is completed.

She said the alleged shooter is in police custody.

“We can only confirm that the incident happened and the police are investigating and a board of enquiry has been convened. As to how many shots were fired, or whether the army’s R4 rifle was used in the shooting can only be revealed after the investigation …” said Meyer.

It is not known whether the dead soldier is from KwaZulu-Natal.

In a statement the acting chief of the SANDF, Lieutenant General Temba Matanzima, said the name of the soldier will be released once his next of kin have been informed.

He said this was an unfortunate incident as discipline was instilled in all army personnel.

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