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Unfriendly fire

Cops chasing armed robbers shoot innocent bystander

TEXT BREAKER: Whilst she escaped with her life, Janssen fears his niece might never be able to walk again.

A young woman is lucky to be alive after being shot twice at point blank range by police officers in hot pursuit of armed robbers on Saturday night.

Despite reportedly following the cops’ instructions to lie down, 26-year-old Mpho Mokgwaela – believed to have been an innocent bystander – was shot in the arm and neck.

The Molepolole woman is currently recovering at Princess Marina Hospital, and although a bullet remains lodged by her spine, her condition is described as stable.

In what is thought to have been a case of mistaken identity, the shooting took place at around 8pm near Ga-town Damn where Mokgwaela and a male friend had been walking home together.

The cops were chasing thieves fleeing after a botched gunpoint robbery at Choppies in Molepolole’s Masenyatlala Mall.

The robbers are said to have dropped the stolen goods – a till containing around P8, 000 – in their haste to escape.

Speaking exclusively to The Voice, the injured woman’s uncle and family spokesperson, Emrys Janssen said that on the night of the shooting, he saw police cars speeding past his house with sirens blazing.

A few minutes later, gunshots reverberated through the night, adding an extra chill to an already cold evening.

The next morning, Janssen awoke to the news that his niece had been shot.

“I received a call from her mother telling me Mpho was shot by the police. I was told my niece had gone to visit her friend and on their way back they were approached by the police, who ordered them to lie down,” said Janssen, who does not attempt to hide his disdain for the boys in blue.

“The police are saying she was shot once but her jacket has three holes. They were shooting to kill her because, according to her friend, there was not even a warning shot! They are trigger happy!” he continued furiously.

Whilst she escaped with her life, Janssen fears his niece might never be able to walk again.

ANGRY: Janssen

“She also shared what transpired because she can talk now, though in great pain. The bullet near the spine is stuck there and we hear the doctors are afraid to remove it as she might end up being paralysed.”

Janssen says the family ‘will not rest until justice is served’ and, once they have the police and doctors’ report showing the extent of Mokgwaela’s injuries, intend to sue the state.

“They must be compensated, this is a serious inconvenience to the family. Mpho was the breadwinner after her mother, who worked as a nurse, was forced to resign due to health reasons,” he reiterated, shaking his head in apparent disgust.

Meanwhile, Assistant Police Commissioner, Dipheko Motube confirmed the police are conducting an internal investigation into the matter.

He further verified that the stolen cash has been recovered but, by Wednesday afternoon, no arrests had been made.

Motube appealed to the public to help with information that could lead to the capture of the armed robbery suspects.

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