The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) says it is “concerned” about unverified reports that its officers were somehow involved in the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old girl in Athlone, Cape Town.
Celeste Carelse was shot in Veld Road, Belgravia, on Sunday night.
Western Cape police spokesperson Siyabulela Malo said the shooting was reported to them on Monday, when it emerged she had succumbed to her wounds in hospital.
The Daily Voice reported that she was shot three times while sitting in a car.
Residents claimed to the newspaper that the army had been busy with an operation in the area when shots were fired.
However, Carelse’s aunt Samantha said they would not speculate and ballistics tests would reveal whether the bullets came from the army, police or gangsters.
People were also speculating on social media about who was responsible for her death, with some blaming soldiers. Others claimed the teenager was caught in gang crossfire and that the army only arrived in the area later on.
Carelse was supposed to start Grade 9 at Athlone High School this week.
The SANDF responded to these claims in an email to News24 on Wednesday, saying it was “concerned about unverified reports of being involved in the death of and/or injury of a young girl at Vygieskraal in Athlone, Cape Town on Sunday, 12 January 2020”.
“The SANDF can confirm that there is no record of official reports received from our deployed elements confirming such an incident. And we would like to state clearly that these claims have not even been verified nor confirmed by the South African Police Service as they came through social media going around in Cape Town,” it said.
Malo said they were investigating the murder and no arrests had yet been made.
“Police detectives are following up all possible leads in an effort to find the perpetrators.”