Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
A FORMER footballer from Bulawayo allegedly killed a shopkeeper in the city as he fled from her shop after stealing peanut butter.

Leniency Mpofu (30) who once turned out for a club that has since been relegated from the Premier Soccer League allegedly elbowed Blessed Sibanda (34) from Pelandaba West suburb on the chest on Sunday at around 9AM.

Sibanda, who died on the spot, was allegedly trying to stop Mpofu from escaping.

The incident occurred at Golden Brooke market place at the corner of 5th Avenue and Fife Street.

Sibanda was pronounced dead on the spot.

Police have since launched a manhunt for Mpofu.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said Sibanda tried to apprehend Mpofu but he overpowered her.

“We are investigating a case where a woman who operates a shop at the market place died after being hit by a thief who had stolen peanut butter from her shop.

“The suspect had stolen 12x375mls bottles of peanut from her shop. The victim tried to apprehend the suspect but he hit her with an elbow on the chest and she collapsed and was pronounced dead by an ambulance crew that attended the scene,” said Insp Ncube.

He said Mpofu is yet to be arrested.

“We appeal to anyone who might have information that may lead to the arrest of the culprit to come forward. Our investigations on the matter are still going on,” he said.

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders’ Association (BVTA) executive director Mr Michael Ndiweni described Sibanda’s death as devastating.

Mr Ndiweni said police should leave no stone unturned to arrest the suspect.

“She is our past vice president for the past two years. It’s very sad that she died in such a painful manner.

“We are devastated following her death. She was a key member of our association as she held the business development portfolio, and a lot of vendors were learning from her. She started as an ordinary vendor but worked to an extent of buying a house and a car. She inspired a lot of vendors to improve themselves,” said Mr Ndiweni.

He said her death puts the spotlight on the safety of informal traders who are subjected to abuse as they might not have money to employ security officials.

Chronicle did not manage to speak Sibanda’s family yesterday. — @nqotshili