An eight-year-old boy died and a 12-year-old girl was injured after being struck by stray bullets during an altercation between residents and law enforcement officers in Elsies River, Cape Town, on Monday.
According to the police, the officers were inspecting houses authorised by the provincial Department of Human Settlements for re-evaluation in the Range, close to Epping Forest, when shots were fired from the crowd.
“Two children were struck by stray bullets,” police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said.
The boy was apparently shot in the chest, while the girl was rushed to a nearby hospital.
Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz condemned the violent protest that led to the shooting.
Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato said: “I am informed officials were acting to protect social housing units from land invasion following many desperate calls for help from the community. Further, that our officers are unharmed having taken cover as shots were fired at them from within a crowd.”
He said the shooter was apparently known in the community.
“We call on authorities to ensure there is justice for the heartbreaking loss of an innocent young life today. We are deeply mourning along with the families this evening.”
Van Wyk said the police were investigating cases of murder and attempted murder.
“Crime scene experts are still on the scene combing the area for clues.”