A six-year-old girl shot and killed her friend with her grandfather’s revolver while playing at a private game reserve in South Africa.

The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon when the victim, Sibongile Moima, was playing with her friend at a private game reserve where her father, Piet Moima, is the foreman, news agency Sapa reported.

Traumatised by the incident, the girl’s 60-year-old grandfather, at whose house the shooting occurred, tried to commit suicide by hanging himself yesterday morning, it said. He had allegedly taken his revolver out of the gun safe on Friday after robbers tried to break into his house.

“We do not know how to deal with this. We are devastated,” said the grandmother of the girl who fired the shot.

The grandfather is due to appear in a court today, on charges relating to the negligent handling of a firearm, the agency quoted Police spokeswoman, Colonel Ronel Otto, as saying.

Mr. Otto said a murder charge was being investigated into the matter.

The children are thought to have found the gun in a wardrobe, in the grandparents’ bedroom.

Despite efforts by the government to limit it, the level of private gun ownership remains high in South Africa, with some estimates putting the number of firearms at almost 6 or 12 for every 100 citizens, media reports said.

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