7-year-old girl shoots dead 6-year-old playmate in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - A seven-year-old girl has shot dead her friend, aged six, with her grandfather's revolver while playing at a farm in South Africa, police said on Monday.

"They were playing together and in the process she got hold of the revolver, which hit the deceased in the face," said police spokesman Ronel Otto.

The girl died on the scene, police said.

The slain girl was the daughter of a farm worker and had been friends with the farmer's grand-daughter for some time.

"The seven-year-old was visiting her grandparents on a farm outside Bela-Bela when she allegedly shot her friend with a 0.38 revolver," Ms Otto told AFP.

The incident occurred on Saturday and the surviving girl is now back with her parents in Johannesburg.

Police have opened a murder case but are waiting for a cue from the national prosecution authority on how to proceed with the case, given it involves a minor.

The 60-year-old grandfather is due to appear in court on Monday on charges of negligent handling of a firearm.

South Africa has tough gun ownership legislation but many citizens own firearms.

A lobby group Gun Free South Africa estimated that in 2011 there were 2.9 million registered guns in a country with a population of nearly 52 million.