Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

Limpopo police have initiated an extensive manhunt following the “appalling and deeply disturbing” murder of a 38-year-old Roman Catholic Church priest in Tzaneen.

Colonel Malesela Ledwaba, spokesperson for Limpopo provincial police, revealed that the clergyman was brutally killed on Wednesday morning inside the church premises in Aqua-Park.

“The identity of the deceased, who was fatally shot by an unidentified assailant, is being withheld pending notification of the next of kin,” stated Ledwaba.

Preliminary investigations suggest that after a morning prayer session, the priest retired to the changing room, where he was confronted by an unknown assailant. Tragically, the suspect fatally shot the priest twice in the head before fleeing the scene.

Both police and emergency medical services responded swiftly to the distress call. Despite efforts to save him, the victim was pronounced dead upon arrival at a nearby hospital.

The Southern Cross, a southern African Catholic publication, expressed profound sadness over the murder of Father William Banda, a member of the St Patrick’s Missionary Society, also known as the Kiltegan Fathers.

Father Banda was reportedly preparing to celebrate Holy Mass when he was fatally shot by a well-dressed man in the sacristy of the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tzaneen Diocese, according to the Association for Catholic Information in Africa (ACI Africa).

In response to the incident, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe, provincial commissioner of police in Limpopo, expressed “profound shock and dismay” and ordered an immediate investigation into the “heinous act.”

The murder and robbery unit has been tasked with leading the investigation, aimed at apprehending the perpetrator responsible for “this deplorable crime.”

A case of murder has been opened, with the motive behind the crime remaining unknown at this stage.

Police have appealed to the community for assistance in providing any relevant information related to the incident, ensuring confidentiality and urging individuals to contact specified police officers or the Crime Stop number.

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