my son killed by people who were supposed to protect him

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

A Grade 11 pupil was shot dead when heavily armed police stormed into his classroom.

The police said they were after two classmates who reportedly had guns on them.

Sedi Khoza, 17, a pupil at Manukose High School in Merry People Stream village near Thulamahashe in Mpumalanga, was shot dead in a police raid on his class on Friday morning.

Sedi, an innocent bystander, was shot by police from the Mhala station. The police arrived at the school in force to arrest two pupils who were supposed to be carrying guns.

The heavily armed officers stormed into the class without warning.

"We were scared to death at seeing uniformed police coming right into the classroom while pointing firearms. Most of my classmates jumped out through the windows but I was so scared my legs would not carry me, so I just closed my eyes and covered my face with my hands," said a shocked classmate who asked not to be identified.

The police fired at the two pupils they were seeking but missed.

One bullet ricocheted off a wall into Sedi's face, killing him instantly.

Officers caught one of the fleeing teenagers and arrested him, but found no weapon.

Sources at the Mhala police station said police hoped the boy would reveal the whereabouts of the firearm during interrogation.

Schoolmates say the boy was assaulted before being bundled into one of the waiting police vehicles.

Lucy Sithole, the mother of the dead pupil, said she did not know that when her son went to school that morning, she would not see him alive again.

"My son bid me farewell in the morning and we prayed as usual. I could not believe it when neighbours called me to the school saying he had been shot dead by police who are suppose to protect us," said Sithole.

Parents from the village rushed to the school when they heard gunfire and saw pupils and frightened teachers fleeing.

"It was like the movies my son watches on television. Pupils in uniform ran for their lives and many police vehicles were at the scene," said parent Maria Monareng.

Chris Mushwana, a teacher from neighbouring Nyamande High School, said he was one of the first people to arrive on the scene after the shooting.

"All teachers and pupils were so traumatised that they could not say a word about the incident," said Mushwana.

Superintendent Abie Khoabane said investigations were continuing.