A regular trip to the village for a mother of three took an agonising turn when she ended up with a police gunshot wound on Tuesday while out with her children who are on a school break.
The Mahalapye native wants answers after a police bullet that pierced through her thigh left her bedridden at the village hospital. Emily Chikaze had just arrived at her home village from Gaborone where she makes a living as a businesswoman on Monday at around five in the afternoon before she met her fate in the wee hours of Tuesday. Narrating her ordeal to The Monitor, the woman of Xhosa ward said it was her usual ritual to visit her home village during holidays with her children. She was excited to be home to spend time with their grandmother. On that fateful night, Chikaze visited neighbourhood friends to briefly catch up before returning home.
Upon reaching her grandmother’s house, she found two police vans by the gate.
“I asked them what was happening and they failed to answer my questions and I walked into the house,” narrated Chikaze.
“Not long after, I heard a gunshot and the next thing I was down on the floor. I felt something cold in my thigh and when I touched the thigh with my hand, my hand was covered in blood.”
Chikaze was not even running when she got shot at. She heard it through the grapevine that the police were in pursuit of some thieves who had made an attack in the neighbourhood. “I am still in shock. I don’t know what happened at that time, apart from stories I hear from people. My friends are also shocked and traumatised by what transpired. Ba ntsentse bogole, I am waiting to hear from them (police) why they shot me. I demand answers,” she said.
Chikaze also said she is worried about her children who witnessed the incident as it is likely to affect them emotionally.
“My children are currently not allowed to visit me here. I am worried about them because they cry everyday when I reach them by the phone. I am hurt, and this has traumatised my children,” she said.
“From what I hear it could have been bad, it was close range. Even though I sustained a fracture I thank God, I am lucky the bullet hit my leg, otherwise I could be dead despite being an innocent bystander.”
Reached for comment, the Botswana Police Service deputy public relations officer, senior superintendent Near Bagali confirmed the shooting.
“Yes it’s true a woman was shot by the police in Mahalapye, but we have opened an inquiry to what really transpired that fateful night. A report is being compiled as we speak on what happened,” said Bagali.
“What I know is that they were making a follow-up on a report that was called in around that neighbourhood, hence we are yet to establish what transpired for her to end up being shot.”
Bagali said they would be informed by the results of the investigation and only thereafter they will be in the position to state what really transpired.
He, however, said they could not pre-empt the investigation and state whether the police officers will be charged or not. Bagali said the officers involved in the incident have not been suspended. “At this stage we are still waiting for the results of the inquiry to inform us first then that is when we will see what to do,” Bagali said.