A 13-year-old school boy in South Africa, arrested after allegedly shooting and injuring his principal, may be tried as an adult, the prosecuting authority says.

The boy, who has not been named, has been charged with attempted murder.

His alleged 51-year-old victim is currently recovering in intensive care in hospital.

The shooting has shocked many people in South Africa, where there is growing concern over violence in schools.

The pupil allegedly used his father’s gun in Friday’s shooting at a primary school in Germiston, east of the main city of Johannesburg.

The father has also been arrested on suspicion of negligence in relation to a firearm and was expected to appear in court on Tuesday, a police spokesperson, Col Dimakatso Nevhuhulwi, told the BBC.

During a visit to the school on Monday, Gauteng province’s Education Minister Matome Chiloane alleged that the boy drew up a “hitlist” of three teachers “who were giving him problems in school”.

“As we interviewed his friends, they said this thing has been planned for a while. Apparently, they had a WhatsApp group where they were communicating and planning this gruesome event.”

He alleged the pupil had taken bullets to the school on a previous occasion.

Neither the boy nor his father has commented on the allegations.

Under South Africa’s Child Justice Act, a 12- or 13-year-old is presumed not to have “criminal capacity” unless the state can prove otherwise.

In the case of this shooting, following a request from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), a magistrate has ordered a report into the boy’s ability to tell right from wrong and an assessment of his cognitive, moral, emotional, psychological and social development.

The magistrate will then decide if he can be tried as an adult.


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