Constable Vuyani March. Picture: Supplied

Kimberley - A 41-year-old police sergeant continues to fight for his life in a Kimberley hospital after he was shot in the face by a Koffiefontein farmer. The farmer also shot and killed his neighbour and another police officer during a shootout on the farm Dassieskop near Koffiefontein.

The shootout was apparently sparked by an ongoing feud over water between the two farmers.

Paul Nel, 60, from the farm Dassieskop, was shot and killed by, Coenraad Badenhorst, 36, following an apparent ongoing family feud, with Badenhorst apparently threatening to kill Nel on numerous occasions.

The Nel family apparently confronted Badenhorst, alleging that he was stealing water by illegally diverting water from the Rietrivier, to his farm. The two families had become embroiled in a legal battle over water, which apparently drove Badenhorst “over the edge”.

Shortly before Thursday’s shootout, Badenhorst was apparently in a Koffiefontein pub, saying that he was going to shoot Nel.

At around 11pm on Thursday evening, Warrant Officer Groenewald from the Koffiefontein police, was on blue light patrol with farmers when she received a message about a suspicious vehicle at the Dassieskop Farm in the Koffiefontein district.

She realised that the vehicle belonged to Badenhorst, who previously threatened Nel.

“While on the way to investigate the complaint, Groenewald called Nel to inform him to be cautious. However, while talking to him on the phone, she heard noises and Nel’s phone went dead,” Free State police spokesperson, Colonel Thandi Mbambo, said.

Groenewald mobilised other members from the Koffiefontein police station but on arrival at the farm, Nel’s body was found on the front porch with a gunshot wound to the head.

He was declared dead on the scene.

Badenhorst apparently hid in bushes close to the scene and opened fire as police officers arrived.

Constable Vuyani March, 27, was hit in the head and died on the scene whilst Sergeant George Calvert, 41, was shot in the face and rushed to Kimberley Mediclinic, where he was yesterday still being treated in the ICU.

Police members returned fire and Badenhorst was shot. He died on the way to hospital.

The firearm used by Badenhorst, a hunting rifle, was found at the scene.

Mbambo, confirmed that three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder are being investigated.

The Provincial Police Commissioner of the Free State, Lieutenant General Moeketsi Sempe, expressed his dismay at the shooting incident and passed his condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the member who was shot and killed.

“It is unfortunate that we woke to such gruesome and disturbing news of yet another incident in Koffiefontein where one of our members was killed whilst performing their duty. I also want to wish the injured member a speedy recovery.”

Mediclinic Gariep spokesperson, Denise Coetzee, yesterday said that Calvert was still in ICU in a stable condition.

This is the second incident in which police officers from Koffiefontein had been killed.

In June 2017 the bodies of two police officers were found at the KoffiefonteinPolice Sation.

The bodies of Obert Mekoa and David Manjo, both 32 at the time, were found at the local police station when their colleagues returned from their evening patrols.

Mekoa was shot once in the head while Manjo was shot in the back and in the head.

They both received State funerals. No arrests have been made yet in connection with the 2017 incident.

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