Sunday, September 27, 2020

Magosi’s house ‘attackers” were victims of mistaken identity

The incident in which gun shots were fired at three men outside the house of the Director General of Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Peter Magosi branched off into a new twist with fresh information showing that the suspects are minors allegedly aged between 15 and 17 years.

Sunday Standard investigations have turned up information showing that at least two security agents who were guarding Magosi’s residential place on that day are at the centre of police investigations after they wounded one of the minors. 

Contrary to reports that three suspicious men were seen by security agents snooping around Magosi’s house, Sunday Standard has established that four minors who are currently form three school leavers and another one who is a form five student decided to drop one of their colleagues off at Block 8 location in Gaborone.

As soon as their colleague alighted from the car, he was allegedly approached by two security agents. The security agents allegedly demanded to know what they were looking for and whether they were in possession a driver’s license.

One of the agents allegedly demanded that the minor who was driving the vehicle should hand the vehicle’s keys over to him. The minor is alleged to have slammed the door and sped off leaving the colleague that they gave lift to Block 8 with security agents. The agents are said to have fired gun shots and one of the minors was wounded on the thigh and abdomen area as well as on the back. They then apprehended the colleague who was left behind in Block 8 and later arrested his colleagues in Ledumadumane.

The Sunday Standard team witnessed the arrival of three of the four suspects who remained handcuffed and wore leg shackles as they were brought to Sir Seretse Khama International Police from Mogoditshane Police Station on Friday afternoon for further interrogation. The fourth suspect who walked slowly and with difficulty was brought later with some blood partially soaked on his clothes.

Contacted for a comment, Botswana Police Service spokesperson senior superintendent Near Bagali confirmed that they were investigating a shooting incident that occurred at Block 8 in Gaborone last Thursday. He said “suspects aged between 15 and 20 years were arrested soon after the incident and are been questioned by the police.”

Sunday Standard was unable to establish if the suspects are aged between 15 and 20 but their parents insist that none of them is aged beyond 18 years.

Bagali said one of the suspects sustained gun shots injuries adding that he was not in a better position to comment on the extent of the injuries.

“At this juncture I am not at liberty to share any information with the media as the investigations are still at the infant stage,” he said.

It is understood that the minors were using one of their colleagues’ parents’ vehicle without permission. Sources within the intelligence community told a Sunday Standard team at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport where the minors were still being detained that they had parked the vehicle in front of Magosi’s house and one of them alighted from the vehicle.

“The minors were at the wrong place and at the wrong time; like a case of mistaken identity,” said a source close to the investigations on Friday.

The security agents are said to have approached one of the minor who had alighted from the vehicle and inquired as to what he was looking for and if they had driver’s license since they were minors. Fearing that they did not have a license, the minor who had alighted from the car bolted the security agents allegedly fired shots. The minors then sped off and dumped the vehicle at one of their colleagues’ parents’ yard. The security agents allegedly pursued them and were able to apprehend the wounded minor while his colleagues were arrested later.

Magosi was at former DIS Director Isaac Kgosi’s coordinating the ongoing search in collaboration with Botswana Unified Revenue Service when the incident occurred.

He told journalists that “one of them (suspects) came towards the gate and attempted to open it and the guards approached them” and they sped off in the vehicle. “They pursued it from Block 8 all the way to Ledumadumane and they had to incapacitate it.

Asked by journalists if the incident was related to a search they were conducting at Kgosi’s house, Magosi said “I have no idea.” He also explained that he was not in a position to ascertain the age group of the suspects at the time.

One of the lawyers representing the alleged suspects, Malcom Gobhoza of Gobhoza Legal Practice secured the release of the alleged suspects on Friday at Sir Seretse Khama police station where they had remained under custody.

He said he would wait for the police to complete their investigations so that they press charges against his clients if need be.

“At the moment I do not want to preempt what criminal charges the suspects are likely to face,” he said.

Gobhoza shared the same sentiment with one of the officers as he also noted that “it is unfortunate that the boys were at the wrong place at the wrong time and the matter was blown out of proportion which should not have been the case.”

According to Gobhoza there was no need for the police to have shackled the suspects saying the ordeal that his clients were subjected to was harsh. The lawyers did not rule out the possibility of suing DIS.

Kemmonye Gasefete, whose son had taken the family vehicle without permission accused the police of attempting to cover up.

“They were not cooperating at all and they did not answer some of the questions that we were asking. For instance we wanted to find out the whereabouts of our sons and what crime they had committed that warranted gun shots that ended up injuring their colleague,” she said.

She added that “We were shocked yesterday during Btv news bulletin when we learnt that the Director of DIS was referring to our children as grown up men and even claiming that the car was dumped at Tsholofelo.”

According to Gasefete “I was at work when I received a call from neighbours that there more than 10 vehicles purportedly from DIS at my yard conducting a search.”  

The mother of the minor with gun wounds, Boitumelo Mosalakatane said she received a call from her neighbours that there were a considerable number of vehicles parked at her yard.

“I was informed by my neighbours that my son had been shot and he had been taken to Mogoditshane Police Station. The following day I went to the police station after knocking off and the police handed me my son but warned me that he is not in a good condition as he had bandages around the abdomen and some wounds on the back,” she said.

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