Monday, January 24, 2022

Foreign missions jittery over Botswana gun crime

The Indian High Commission in Botswana has reportedly written a letter to Botswana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation, questioning circumstances leading to the death of its national, Mahesh Suryakant Brahme who was shot dead recently by unknown gunmen.

It is understood that the embassy, in a letter addressed to Phandu Skelemani’s Ministry, wants the Botswana Police Service to treat the issue as a matter of urgency by speeding up investigations and apprehending the culprits behind the death of its citizen.

Available information suggests that the spate of armed robberies, especially in Gaborone and its environs have brought fear among foreign missions. The letter addressed to foreign affairs office comes at a time when the Bureau of Diplomatic Security at the US Embassy in Botswana alerted Americans living in Botswana about escalating gun crimes and offered safety precautions.

It is understood that the Foreign Affairs Ministry should have been the one to write the letter first to the embassy expressing it condolences and assuring the foreign mission that investigations were being carried out. “But because of the sense of insecurity, the embassy felt that there is need to seek assurance that its nationals were not targeted and that something was being done to bring the situation to normality,” said a source.
Responding to Sunday Standard queries, the embassy’s the counsellor and head of chancery at Indian High Commission Raj Chawla confirmed that they had written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

“Yes, Indian High Commission wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to speed up investigations into the murder of Indian national,” he said.

On whether they demanded more information on the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Brahme Chawla said “No…Only request was made of the above case for speedy investigations.”

But the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Monei Rapuleng said he was not aware of the letter.

“We haven’t seen the letter. If it is there I haven’t seen it,” he is said in a brief interview.
Media reports indicate that the official version of the events that unfolded on the tragic night, as released by the high commission, said Mahesh received bullet injuries in the head and neck.

“Seven armed robbers looted passengers of a car they were travelling in after a small eat-out party at a restaurant in a mall. These were Bhojanala Krishna Moorthy, Girish, Santosh and Mahesh Brahme.
The robbery happened when Bhojanala Moorthy was being dropped off at the gate of his house. The armed robbers snatched wallets (containing cash and driving licences and bank cards, cellphones and other valuables,” the paper reads, explaining that Mahesh put up some resistance while parting with his cellphone which robbers had tried to snatch from him and they fired at him.

The robbers, who are yet to be nabbed, made away with three cellphones, a cheque for P10,000 and about Pula 2,000 cash.

According to Mahesh’s friends and locals who rushed him to the hospital, he succumbed to injuries before they reached the hospital.

Brahme (45) was working as a manager with Pasela Limited, a chocolate-making company in Gaborone, Botswana’s capital. He has been in Gaborone since 2007 and his contract had been renewed in February for two years.

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