Brutal watchmen

ACCUSED: Suspects in court

15 guards arrested for assault and abduction

About 15 neighbourhood watchmen were last week arrested and arraigned before Molepolole Magistrates’ Court on Friday facing a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Nine of the 15 men were also slapped with an extra charge of abduction.

The nine suspects were Obusitswe Manempe, 51, John Tlhabano, 38, Monkgomotsi Bakaka, 51, Modiri Setontoro, 23, Tebo Mahempe, 35, Reaobaka Mosotho, 19, Leo Mogomotsi, 53, Gaotlhobogwe Kwelagobe, 65, and 57-year-old Alfred Modise.

Particulars of the offence are that the nine men between May 19th, 2023 and May 20th, 2023, at Molepolole, Goo-Moloinyana ward acting jointly and unlawfully assaulted 47-year-old Oadisa Tselaekgopo with fists and knobkerries all over the body causing abrasions on both wrists, bruises on the left eye, laceration and swollen feet.

The nine further abducted Tselaekgopo with intent that he be secretly and wrongfully confined.

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Meanwhile the other six being Molemi Rabogadi, 44, Desmond Ndaba, 38, Kenneth Matlapeng, 47, Nkanyane Sebase, 63, Ranki Molala, 67, and Sebedi Kerapetse, 53, on May 22nd, 2023 at Molepolole, Magokotswane ward, unlawfully assaulted Elias Nkone, 41, at Molepolole, Magokotswane ward with sticks and axe handles on his private parts and all over the body causing body injuries.

The furious 15 reportedly brutally tortured the victims on suspicions of stealing goats and cows.

However their attorney, Sesupo Masaka argued that the men were innocent and were in fact the ones rescuing Tselaekgopo from an enraged mob.

“I don’t know why the police don’t indicate that the accused are the ones who handed the assaulted man over to the police. Cops should not arrest citizens that assist them. There is no offence of abduction at all because how do you get accused of abduction when you have handed hand over the person to the police? These so called victims are in fact criminals and the police don’t realise that the criminals might just go scot free while people fighting crime might end up in prison,” said Masaka.

Meanwhile Prosecutor Assistant Superintendent Uyapo Koketso has emphasised that there is no one above the law and no one is allowed to assault another person.

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The top cop further explained to the court that the accused took Tselaekgopo to the bush on the 19th of May and refused to return him till the following day when the police went to search for them and found them with him.

Although the prosecution pleaded with the court to remand the accused after filling an affidavit which stated that the investigations were still ongoing that not all statements had been recorded, the court considered that there were no valid reasons to prove that the accused were a flight risk and therefore all the 15 suspects were granted bail on conditions that the nine suspects pay P2000 cash each and the six suspects pay P5000 each further provide two sureties binding themselves with the sum of P1000 each.

All the men met their bail conditions and are expected back in court on June 20th, 2023.

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