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WANTED SUSPECT STABS COP WITH OKAPI

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MBABANE – A police officer may be permanently injured after he was stabbed by a violent suspect who was resisting arrest.

The suspect, Thabiso Khoza (28), who police say has pending charges related to violating the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence (SODV) Act, is on the wanted list after he aimed for the heart of a police officer with an okapi knife.

While resisting arrest, the suspect is alleged to have pierced the palm of the officer until the blade of the knife broke in two, with the remaining part stuck in the officer’s hand.

The drama unfolded at Nyakatfo in the northern Hhohho Region, where two police officers, who are based at Buhleni Police Station, had been dispatched to investigate the presence of the suspect in the area. 

Inside sources said at the time, the suspect was wanted for a bloody attempted rape in that he had allegedly brutally assaulted a woman and stripped her naked. Just when he allegedly was about to rape her, he was disturbed by passersby and he ran away.

Escaped

On another note, the suspect is reportedly also wanted for contempt of court in that he had allegedly had sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old girl, but after being released on bail, he did not bother to stand trial.

In his latest escapade, the sources said the suspect was found at a drinking spot by two armed officers, one identified as Bhukula Khumalo and the other identified only as Myeni.

Knife

“They explained his rights and searched him, where they found an okapi knife in his trouser, which the officers confiscated. They then led him to a police van that was parked about 20 metres away. However, just when he was about to be bundled into the van, he pretended as if he was falling to the ground. When he got up, he was holding another okapi which had been hidden in his socks,” one of the sources explained.

It is said that the suspect initially tried to fight off Myeni, but the police officer defended himself by putting up a brave fight using his hands. Khoza reportedly then went for Khumalo, who is said to have been carrying an R5 gun. 

He is said to have then directed the okapi knife towards Khumalo’s heart but the officer blocked the weapon with his hand, which was pierced by the knife. 

It is also said that Khumalo sustained other stab wounds on his body during the scuffle with Khoza, but these were less severe compared to the one in his hand.

Shot

In the scheme of things, the officer is said to have reached for the R5 gun which had fallen to the ground, but Myeni shot him in the leg with a service pistol.

The suspect and the officer were reportedly then taken to Mkhuzweni Clinic, where they were immediately transferred to the Pigg’s Peak Government Hospital.

“Five days later, while the suspect was receiving treatment because he had lost too much blood because of the gunshot wound, he escaped from the hospital, leaving medical staff perplexed. 

“The bullet had not yet been removed from his thigh as he had pending appointments with specialists. There are rumours that he has skipped the country to neighbouring South Africa,” the source said.

Meanwhile, the stabbed officer has been nursing the injuries ever since the fateful day in September this year. It is said that doctors later transferred him to Mbabane where he continued with treatment.

It is alleged that the suspect lives in a small town in South Africa, close to the border. 

The name of the small town has been withheld because police hope to close in on him with the help of their SA counterparts.

Acting Police Information and Communications Officer Mazwi Ndzimandze confirmed that the incident occurred and that the officer was stabbed by the suspect during the arrest.

Ndzimandze also confirmed that the suspect is on the police wanted list after evading arrest while receiving treatment.

“We are still searching for the suspect after he escaped while receiving treatment. Evading arrest is a serious crime,” he said.

Wanted

When asked why the suspect’s face was not on the police website, where normally wanted suspects are posted, he said the site was still undergoing technical repairs.

“We use social media, which is quite easy to use. Many of the wanted suspects are on our Facebook page,” he said. 

Meanwhile, pub med states that a stab wound to the hand, apart from the very real danger of deep infection, may cause damage to tendons or neurovascular bundles. 

The blood supply to the tissues in the hand may have been compromised, leading to devitalisation and necrosis (tissue death), which in turn may lead to infection and even amputation.

This is not the first time that a police officer has been stabbed by a suspect while in the line of duty. 

A suspect stabbed a female police officer twice with a pair of scissors inside the Lobamba police station in 2015. 

Lungelo Nxumalo, who was 20 years old at the time, allegedly stabbed Nelly Dlamini in her forehead and arm resulting in the officer sustaining serious injuries. 

The suspect was not granted bail after the incident.

It was reported then that Dlamini was facing down when she was attacked with the scissors, which the accused reportedly took out of his socks as that was where he had hidden the weapon when he was arrested. 

Committed

Officers who were present at the station came to her rescue and she was rushed to hospital and the suspect was put in a cell. 

Nxumalo had been arrested in connection with housebreaking, which he had allegedly committed at Mcaphozini.

In another incident that occurred in June 2019, a police officer’s body was dumped by the roadside at New Village in Manzini.

The officer, who was based at the Matsapha Police Academy, did not have any stab wounds except for a minor scratch behind the ear. 

He was found without a wallet or mobile phone, which suggested that he had been robbed.

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