Mob charged for assault and abduction

Gofaone Koogotsitse

Two Molepolole men escaped death by a whisker in separate incidents after being brutally tortured by enraged mobs that suspected them of livestock theft.

Bruised, battered and fearing for his life, 47-year-old Oadisa Tselaekgopo has lived to tell the sad story of how he was abducted and tortured in the bush for a crime he says he knew nothing about.

Showing his swollen feet with wounds and scars caused by the rope he was tied with from a tree with his head facing down, he Ramotiketsane ward native shed a tear as he narrated his ordeal to this publication in an interview last Monday afternoon.

He said it all happened last month on Friday 19th at around 5pm when one of the suspects came to his place and requested to see him and he suggested to the man that they meet on Saturday since he was planning to go somewhere.

“The man requested that I give him some water, I got inside the house to fetch the water from the kitchen but before I got out from the house a group of men invaded the living room. They started assaulting me before they tied me with ropes dragging me to the car,” sadly explained Tselaekgopo.

The men drove him to the lands while calling others on the way till they stopped at one of the suspects’ place.

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They continued assaulting him as others kept on arriving increasing the team and took him to Lekadibeng at Seherelela lands.

Later the police arrived at the scene after they received a report from the victim’s relatives.

His sister Oshale Puso, 49, told of how they were alerted by one of Tselaekgopo’s neighbours after the men took him. “One of my brothers rushed to report and the police told him that they had shortage of drivers. After he returned home to inform us we went to the police and asked them to give us permission to search for our brother. We managed to get the number for one of the suspects and the police called him asking him to bring back the person they took but they refused,” she said disclosing that the police then took about three relatives to accompany them to the scene.

Puso revealed that they were traumatised and weeping uncontrollably to see his brother arriving at the police station unconscious and tied with ropes.

Tselaekgopo was admitted at Scottish livingstone Hospital where he spent three days before he was later discharged on Tuesday (May 23rd, 2023).

He has however maintained his innocence saying he did not knowing anything about the alleged stolen goats and cows as the mob claimed they wanted him to show them the cattle post in Serinane where they suspected the stolen stock was kept.

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“They accused me for a crime I knew nothing about. They never went to my lands to check their livestock from my kraal. Some of my accusers are my neighbours at the lands. They even asked me the names of my friends. I don’t have any case of stock theft and I’ve never been called by the police for questioning,” said Tselaekgopo.

Meanwhile, nine suspects 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 Alfred Modise aged 57 were charged for the offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and abduction.

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

For the second charge, the nine accused abducted Tselaekgopo with intent that he be secretly and wrongfully confined.

In another similar case, six men Molemi Rabogadi, 44, Desmond Ndaba, 38, Kenneth Matlapeng, 47, Nkanyane Sebase, 63, Ranki Molala, 67, and Sebedi Kerapetse, 53, were charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The charge sheet indicated that on May 22nd, 2023 at Molepolole, Magokotswane ward, the six men unlawfully assaulted Elias Nkone (41) with sticks and axe handles on the private parts and all over the body causing body injuries.

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All the 15 suspects who are members of a neighbourhood watch were granted bail on conditions that the nine suspects pay P2000 cash each and the six suspects pay P5000 each and each to provide two sureties binding themselves with the sum of P1000 each.

Should the suspects be found guilty for the offence of assaults occasioning actual bodily harm they are liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, with or without corporal punishment and imprisonment not exceeding seven years for the offence of abduction.

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