Dangerous and loose: but where is Nangube Charles?
Last Wednesday, Botswana Police took to their Facebook Page to upload a grainy, pixilated Wanted Picture of one Nangube Charles.
While the 49-year-old’s image was difficult to make out, the terror associated with his name was crystal clear; for many in the Sebina and Maropong area, it marked the unwelcome return of a ghost from the past, a ghost they believed had been banished forever.
As well as 11 years in jail without trial, Charles’ grim history includes three murder charges across four decades, dating back to 1994 through to August 2021, when he allegedly stabbed his pregnant 21-year-old girlfriend to death in Makobo village.
Despite his bloody background, following his latest murderous brush with the law, Charles was given bail by Francistown Magistrates Court on 25th January 2022.
Two months later he stopped showing up for court and has not been seen since, with the cops citing his last known address as Gerald Estates in the second city.
After 17 months on the loose, the police finally saw fit to alert the public.
“We are looking for him and a warrant of arrest has been issued by court. He is wanted in connection with a murder in Makobo which he allegedly committed in 2021,” confirmed Botswana Police PRO, Near Bagali in a short interview with The Voice.
Digging into The Voice’s archives, we discovered Charles, a resident of Mautlakgang cattlepost, originally came under the police’s radar back in the early 90s.
He was arrested and charged with the murder of Gadzani Mokhize, who was shot dead in Marapong in 1994, while her boyfriend survived the shooting but was left crippled.
Although he spent 11 years behind bars, the case never went to trial and in 2005 he was set free by Justice John Mosojane on the basis it was unjust to lock a man up for so long without trial.
Speaking to The Voice on condition of anonymity, a niece to slain woman is in no doubt that Charles has her aunt’s blood on his hands.
“That man is horrible; whenever we hear his name we remember the year ‘94. He was dating my aunt’s stepdaughter. When they were sitting by the fire in the evening, he arrived and shot my aunt and her man, who was left wheelchair bound,” revealed the source, adding at the time she was just a child and had no idea the case never made it to High Court.
She was also clueless as to what Charles’ possible motive may have been.
Upon his release in 2005, the suspected killer is said to have returned to his home at Mautlakgang cattlepost, where he reportedly terrorized neighbours for three years.
It is a time Sebina Chief, Shathani Kgakanyane, remembers all too well.
“In those past years, Nangube is said to have been attacking old people going to Mautlakgang ploughing fields from Sebina and taking their belongings. Villagers stopped going to the fields because they were terrified of him. Police were also unable to get him because he was excellent at hiding from them,” recalls the Kgosi.
By April 2008, however, Charles could hide from the police no longer; he was arrested in Francistown, implicated in the vicious murder of 27-year-old Mummy Mogoya.
The young woman, who had been living with Charles for three months prior to her death, was found in a pool of blood near Chedu Choga Shopping Complex in Block One location.
Speaking to The Voice at the time, Mogoya’s mum, Letty Bogopa, described her daughter’s suspected killer as a lethal person capable of wiping her whole family out.
“Liberating this beast would not be a just move for my family. We are living in perpetual fear since this man killed my child,” the then 58-year-old grieving mother was quoted at the time.
14 years later, court failed to heed Bogopa’s warning, granting Charles bail in January last year, just five months after he had allegedly slaughtered his pregnant lover, Oratile Makobo.
All went quiet until Wednesday 6 September, when the Police dropped their bombshell.
“The BPS page brought a lot of mixed reactions. People are afraid that he might continue with his ill behavior; it has also rubbed on the healed scars of victims of the families he allegedly murdered in the past,” admitted Kgosi Sebeni.
Sharing the same sentiments, Marapong Councillor, Gofaone Mabutho revealed she was just a young girl when she first heard the name, Nangube Joseph Charles.
“He had been accused of murder long back and finding out that he is on the loose has put the community at unease. It also opened old wounds.
“Serious patrols with the help of a helicopter must be used to look for him. People are scared; they did not know he was on the loose and only found out last week on BPS FB page,” said Mabutho.