15 November 2012

South Africa/Zambia: Case Against Bus Stoners Withdrawn

Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Chipolopolo celebrating (file photo).

Johannesburg — Two boys arrested after a Zambian soccer team bus was stoned in Soweto will not be prosecuted, police said on Thursday.

"The two minors appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court this afternoon. The case has been withdrawn," spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila said.

"The children were sent for counselling. The prosecutors withdrew the case and questions should be referred to the prosecution team."

Comment from the National Prosecuting Authority could not be obtained immediately.

Malila said investigations continued.

The boys, aged 12 and 13, were arrested on Wednesday night after the Zambian soccer team's bus was stoned after the team beat Bafana Bafana 1-0 at Soccer City.

Earlier Malila said the police were looking for two other children in relation with the stoning.

He confirmed Zambia's goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, who plays for the Free State Stars in South Africa, was injured, as he was sitting at the window which was hit.

A Tweet by the Zambian Football Association on Thursday morning read: "Very sad that Zambian bus was stoned and Kennedy Mweene sustained a head injury. Has had stitches and is ok, but the incident was shameful."

The SA Football Association (Safa) and Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) condemned the stoning on Thursday.

Safa president Kirsten Nematandani apologised to his Zambian counterpart and said the relationship between the two countries went beyond soccer.

"Such embarrassing behaviour is alien to the Safa and damages the good name of our association and country. We do not want at any time to be associated with these scoundrels of society," Nematandani said.

Afcon 2013 CEO Mvuzo Mbebe said it was an isolated attack and would not affect preparations for the tournament.

"We are disturbed by this incident which is totally an isolated one.

South African fans do not behave like this and are known to take defeat in the good spirit," Mbebe said in a statement.

"This country has hosted numerous international events and we have not experienced such conduct."

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