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Tragedy as ex-cop is shot dead for refusing to stop at roadblock, wife files murder charges

BEITBRIDGE – The family of an ex-police officer shot dead by Zezani police in Beitbridge last week wants the officers behind his killing arrested.

Stanlake Ipela’s family are convinced he was shot dead in cold blood. Police say he refused to stop at a roadblock.

An internal memo from police at the scene to their superiors indicates there was nothing of police interest found in the car after Ipela.

National police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the incident is under investigation and a statement will be issued soon.



Ipela’s family is perturbed and believe the shooting was only motivated by malice.

“What other explanation is there? He was shot in the back by a powerful gun. He is accused of failing to stop at a roadblock, but who has ever seen a roadblock on a rural road far away from a police station? Why did they not disable the vehicle? We believe this is murder,” a family spokesman told New Ziana.

In a strongly-worded letter to the police, the family also asked several questions relating to the shooting.

It is understood the late Ipela had his brains splattered in the car while part of his face was blown off by the bullet fired from close range through the back of his head. The officers at the scene said they suspected him of carrying livestock in the minibus he was driving.

The family’s letter served on the Beitbridge Police District clerk’s office also asked why the officer who killed Ipela was not charged with murder.

“We register the above complaint of Ipela S. He is our relative shot in cold blood by police. This is our view, having seen the attitude and manner in which police were evasive. We, as a family, have several questions begging answers,” the letter said in part.

The family visited the scene where they performed rituals.

The letter continues: “We have been to the scene and asked villagers. There was no roadblock as is explained in your police memo we have seen. We also question what threat to life, police or property did our brother pose to deserve death Considering there were so many people in the minibus as about 10 claimed by what is in the memo, why did police not catch any or shoot another person? There are five phones left in the car belonging to people who were with our brother, why has it taken police this long to communicate with them in this era of technology? Why was he shot in the back and why was such force necessary?”

The family also wondered why it took long for police to hand them documentation to transport Ipela to Marondera where he is expected to be laid to rest.

Ipela was once employed by the Zimbabwe Republic Police at Beitbridge and was married to a local woman, Sinikiwe Ndlovu.

“Lastly, we are, with this communication making an official report of murder of Ipela by whoever shot him,” the family said in its letter copied to the Commissioner of Police Godwin Matanga and the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Kazembe Kazembe.

Ipela, who lived with his wife and children at Lutumba in Beitbridge, becomes the second man from the district to be shot by police in unclear circumstances.

In June 2021, Abel Gumbo, a well-known tout at Lutumba was gunned down by police on suspicions of being an armed robber, a claim long dismissed but no arrest was made.

Like Ipela, Gumbo was married and left behind a child and a widow. In a strange turn of events, the killer cops unknowingly approached Gumbo’s sangoma aunt seeking help against avenging spirits but they were dismissed.

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