Thamaga 10 accused of murder, rape and robbery in single night of terror
The high-profile trial of 10 suspected members of a notorious Thamaga gang – known in the village as Matsetsenkane – continued before Lobatse High Court this week.
The 10 youths, most of whom are junior school dropouts, are accused of murder, rape, causing grievous bodily harm, malicious damage to property and theft.
The charges date back to 23 November 2014, on a night of blood and violence that marks one of the darkest chapters in Thamaga’s history.
It is alleged the suspects, all aged under 30 at the time, beat 66-year-old Montle Gaadingwe to death after breaking into her house in Kgosing ward.
As well as murder, they are said to have stabbed Gaadingwe’s daughter, Thoko Ramotuana four times with a sharp object, leaving her for dead as they fled the scene. Fortunately, Ramotuana survived the terrifying ordeal.
Later that night, the mob allegedly handcuffed and gang-raped a 63-year old woman in the same neighbourhood.
The accused persons are: Moreri Motlhakolane, Ketshephaone Mmereki, Lebogang Kgosimore, Keaorapela Kealeba, Mpho Ramoruswana, Oarabile Metse, Keabetswe Metse, Kabelo Marokosi, Mogatusi Tlhakojame and Tshepo Sebataladi.
Giving evidence before court this Tuesday, Assistant Superintendent Gumede revealed three of the suspects were caught in possession of Ramotuana’s cellphone a week after the robbery.
According to Gumede, the gang had gained entry into the victim’s home by smashing her windows.
“The broken glass on the floor had blood stains and forensic laboratory report revealed that the blood is of some of the suspects. On the 1st of December 2014, Oarabile, Keabaetswe and Kabelo were arrested at Old Naledi. We found them in possession of Ramotuana’s 1200 Nokia phone and discovered a simcard on the floor. We took the simcard to the network provider who provided a report that it is registered under Ramotuana’s names,” explained the Investigating Officer (IO).
During cross-examination, second accused, Kgosimore asked Gumede why he still has a case to answer when he has an alibi for the day of the murder.
In response, although he conceded a member of the public had indeed come forward to back up Kgosimore’s claims, Gumede stressed he has every right to ask court to call his witness to take a stand.
Three of the suspects were remanded in custody, while the other seven were granted bail. The trial continues throughout the week.