Friday, January 22, 2021

Grave yard heist shocks Mmadinare residents

A group of unknown people have raided the Mmadinare village graveyard, stealing 20 tombstones, and leaving residents in a state of disbelief. The Tribal Authority is expected to call a kgotla meeting as part of the efforts to address the matter. Police, confirming that no arrests had been made so far, also revealed that they have no clue of the whereabouts of the suspects.

Botswana Police Service Assistant Commissioner, Christopher Mbulawa, said that police in Selibe-Phikwe are investigating the case, in which the 20 tombstones were reported missing. Meanwhile, seven tombstones were found vandalized in Letlhakane cemetery.

Mbulawa said the raiding of the cemetery was revealed when some family members visited the grave yard to view tombs of their departed relatives, only to find parts of the tombstones missing.

“So far we have not arrested anyone in connection with the case and we are appealing to the members of the public to assist us with information that can lead to the arrest of the culprits,” he said.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Mmadinare Headman of Records, Ofentse Mabengano, said his village has been attacked by unknown criminals who have stolen tombstone in the grave yard near Letlhakane river recently. He said they strongly suspected that the theft took place at night. However, this is the first crime of its kind in his village. “Our grave yard is very bushy, making it difficult to have a good view of whatever activity that takes place in the grave yard from a distance,” he said.

He added that the security fence around the grave yard is also worn out, worsening the situation. The kgotla meeting to discuss the issue and find a solution is due sometime this week.

Asked if the tribal authority had any measures in place to prevent recurrence of such theft, Mabengano said, “We have not thought of anything as yet but the residents will have to decide what should be done. The local authority would approve whatever resolutions were proposed in the meeting.”

One of the villagers, Georgina Phuthego, confirmed the incident, adding that part of a tombstone belonging to a deceased family member had been removed.  

“My husband called me and informed me that our son’s tombstone had been stolen, and this incident has been the last blow. I never thought that such thing could happen,” she said, sobbing.

Phuthego said she went to the grave yard in the company of her relatives where they noticed that the top part of the tombstone was removed, resulting in the grave being left open. “This tombstone was only unveiled last July and within a year it has already been stolen,” she said.

Phutego urged those who might have information to tip the police so that the perpetrators can be arrested.

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