Investigations into deadly BDF blaze drag on

Cathrine Moemedi
UP IN FLAMES: Burning BDF barracks

Although it is over a year since the deadly blaze, investigations into the fire that gutted Botswana Defence Force’s (BDF) Maun barracks on the night of 8th September, 2021 are still incomplete.

The inferno claimed the life of Victor Watlala, who was one of 25 soldiers housed at the burnt barracks – a figure that includes the man accused of starting the fire, 29-year-old Lance Corporal, Thabang Kgolagano.

Appearing at the Magistrates’ Court on behalf of the prosecutor this week, Ford Morupisi revealed the matter was awaiting committal to Maun High Court.

“Investigations are still ongoing; we are awaiting the statement of the investigating officer,” explained Morupisi during Tuesday’s mention.

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It is said that on the fateful day, Kgolagano fell out with a colleague while drinking at a local bar in the tourist town. A fight ensued, with the other men reportedly fleeing the scene. The suspect is believed to have followed his fellow soldier back to the camp, where he allegedly started the fire.

Out on P2,500 bail since October last year, Kgolagano, who must report to Maun Police Station once a month, has been suspended from duty pending the outcome of the case.

He is set to appear in court again on 9th March, 2023 for status update.

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