Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Reporter
AN unknown assailant on Sunday afternoon pounced on two Empandeni High School pupils who were on a picnic outing and robbed them of their mobile phones before shooting and injuring one of the young girls.
The Roman Catholic-run High School is located in Mangwe district, Matabeleland South.
The two girls are day scholars, one in Form Three and the other Form Four.
Their parents are teachers at the school, according to a source at the institution.
They were attacked between 2-3pm on Sunday afternoon and were rushed to Empandeni Mission Clinic for treatment. They were later transferred to Plumtree District Hospital where they have since been discharged and are said to be recovering at home, although still traumatized.
Matabeleland South police spokesperson, Inspector Loveness Mangena confirmed the attack and said an investigation and manhunt for the assailant has since been launched.
Empandeni High School headmaster, Mr Mandla Ndlovu could neither deny nor confirm the attack but referred questions to the Mangwe District Schools Inspector, Mr Danisa Nkomo who however could not be reached as his mobile phone was not going through.
Sources however said when the assailant pounced on the two girls, they had gone to take pictures of the spilling Empandeni Dam.
“These girls are learners at Empandeni High School but not borders so they went to the dam to take some photos and it was while they were there enjoying themselves that the assailant, who was riding a bicycle emerged from nowhere and ordered them to give him their mobile phones,” said the source.
The source said the two young girls refused to give their assailant the phones but instead tried to make good their escape with the assailant hot in their heels.
“As they were running away, one of the girls, unfortunately, fell down while her friend continued to run. It was then that attacker drew his gun and shot the little girl who was still running and the bullet hit her on the foot. The incident has unsettled the entire school and the community especially since the assailant is still unaccounted for and may even pounce again,” said the source.
Another source said the assailant, who was riding a Buffalo-branded bicycle, was wearing a red T-shirt and a black pair of trousers.