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South African policeman kills self while guarding Mandela's home

  • Story Highlights
  • Police sergeant shoots himself with service unit while on duty
  • Incident occurs in guard house outside Mandela's Johannesburg home
  • The former South African president was home at the time, but was not in danger
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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (CNN) -- A South African policeman guarding former South African President Nelson Mandela's home shot and killed himself Saturday, police said.

A police sergeant working for the police VIP unit killed himself outside Nelson Mandela's Johannesburg home.

A police sergeant working for the police VIP unit killed himself outside Nelson Mandela's Johannesburg home.

The police sergeant, who was working for the police VIP unit, killed himself while on duty at the guard house outside Mandela's Johannesburg home, National Police spokeswoman Sally de Beer said.

Mandela, who rose to lead South Africa after being a prisoner of the former apartheid government, was at home at the time, but was not in any danger, de Beer said.

The shooting occurred at around 11 a.m. (5 a.m. ET), de Beer said.

She did not identify the sergeant, but said he was 37 and had been a member of the South African Police Service since 2005.

Before that, he was a member of the South African Defence Force, she said.

He used his service weapon in the act, she said. Police said there was no apparent reason for the suicide.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said it was aware of the incident, but referred all calls to the South African police.

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