Sunday, 4 February 2018

KILLER SOLDIER'S FAMILY IN TOUGH NEGOTIATIONS

THE family of a soldier who allegedly fired about 20 shots, killing his wife and her two siblings before shooting himself in a suicide attempt in New Magwegwe suburb yesterday started negotiations with the bereaved family ahead of burial today.

The Chapeyema family said they arrived in Bulawayo on Thursday night and reached out to the bereaved family so that they work together to bury the deceased.
Carlos Tinashe Chapeyema (23) who is based in Gweru and attached to the Zimbabwe National Army Infantry Battalion Brigade at Battlefields, Kwekwe, went to his in-laws home in New Magwegwe and allegedly opened fire killing his wife, Ashley Phiri (21) and her siblings, Nkosivumile Ncube (16) and Rita Nkomo (23) on the spot in the early hours of last Wednesday.

His 18 month-old daughter, Tlowi Chapeyema, had her intestines and leg badly injured after he allegedly shot her as well.

Carlos sustained serious internal injuries after he shot himself once in the abdomen.
The deceased are expected to be buried at West Park Cemetery in Bulawayo today.
The suspect’s father, Mr Jeremiah Chapeyema said they asked the New Magwegwe Residents’ Association chairperson Mr Philip Karanda and the police to escort them to the Nkomo family.

“We appreciate the Nkomo family’s behaviour towards us, as they were not hostile as we had expected following such an incident. They understand because for any family which has lost three members at once, worse in an unnatural event like shooting, we expected the worst.
“When we however, approached them for talks on Sunday morning, the Nkomos demanded $300 upfront before we could discuss anything. We abide by their demands and are actually ready to meet all their requests because as Africans, it is natural. In our traditional ways, we are expecting compensation demands or certain payments to be charged and we totally do not blame them. We believe it is their right even if no compensation brings back life,” he said.

Mr Chapeyema said they apologised to the Nkomo family for their son’s conduct.
“They understood and urged us to stay in touch with them and we applaud them. About what my second born son did, I can’t even express the shock that I’m in. I suspect an evil spirit from our roots must have overshadowed him because no clear thinking person can do such gruesome killings. The fact that he further attempted to kill himself leaves me thinking he wasn’t thinking straight but it was an act of fear after realising what he had done,” he said.

“If he had really wanted to die, then maybe he should have shot himself in the head or right in the chest, hence I suspect he just panicked and was not thinking straight. We express our sincere condolences to the Nkomo family, hoping they understand we least expected this.”
A relative of the Chapeyemas, Mr Cuthbert Nyabeza of Luveve, Bulawayo said they were glad Carlos was recovering.

He said prior to the shooting, the soldier was in constant touch with him.
Mr Nyabeza said Carlos always told him about the couple’s differences and in November last year, he informed him that his wife had left him and was back at her family home.
He said when he came to his house on Monday, he was clad in his army uniform and carrying a small bag.

“When he came on Monday from his work place, he actually put up at my house. He went to his in-laws’ place and discussed the couple’s problems. He told me they advised him to come with his parents for further talks and he was actually willing to do so. Later that evening, he insisted that I go back there with him, which I declined telling him it was best to send his father and other elderly relatives bus fare to come to Bulawayo,” he said.

Mr Nyabeza said he never suspected that Carlos was troubled to the extent of killing people, even though he had stressed that he had actually come from work to see his child and wife in an attempt to reconcile.

He said on Monday night, Carlos asked him to send his wife money through EcoCash saying she had said they had run out of gas, and he did so using his phone.
Mr Nyabeza said initially, Carlos said he was going to sleep in Bulawayo, but at around 8PM, he changed his mind saying he wanted to return to work.

“I escorted him to the road to catch lifts into the city centre. While at our local bus stop, he changed his mind again and opted to leave the next day, early morning. At around 5AM, I drove him to Harare road and he boarded a bus to Gweru. He then returned that night and committed the alleged crime, I guess,” he said.

Mr Nyabeza said they were waiting for the soldier’s condition to improve, before they can ask him why he committed the crime.

“Doctors have indicated that his spine was affected but we are happy there is an improvement because he is now talking and we hope he gives us answers soon,” he said.
Mpilo Central Hospital clinical director, Dr Solwayo Ngwenya yesterday said Carlos and his daughter were out of danger.

On Friday, the suspect appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Franklin Mkhwananzi during a bedside court session conducted at Mpilo Central Hospital.

He was remanded in custody to February 16 and advised to apply to the High Court for bail.
The soldier, who was initially confined to the intensive care unit, has since been transferred to the male ward and he is under police and military guard.

Prosecuting, Mr Mclean Ndlovu said on February 1 this year, Carlos went to his wife’s home armed with an AK 47 assault rifle, which was loaded with 20 rounds. He allegedly knocked on the door demanding that she opens it.

“When the door was eventually opened the accused person stormed into the house and started firing gunshots at Phiri, Nkomo and Ncube, killing them instantly,” said Mr Ndlovu. Chronicle

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