A long diplomatic row between Botswana and South Africa has temporarily cooled down following the death of a murder suspect who was wanted in Botswana.
The man was at the center of a dispute over murder suspects between the two governments.
South Africa, which has long abolished capital punishment had wanted written assurances from the President of Botswana that Tsebe would not be sentenced to death were he extradited to Botswana.
During the long diplomatic tussle between the two countries, Emmanuel Tsebe languished in South African cells awaiting extradition to Botswana.
The Botswana High Commissioner to South Africa, Motlhagodi Molomo, confirmed to the Telegraph on Monday evening that Tsebe had died.
In a brief telephone interview from South Africa, Molomo said, “Tsebe, who was wanted in Botswana for murder, died around December last year.”
She said the deceased’s body is still lying at a mortuary while arrangements are being made by his next of kin to repatriate the body for burial in Botswana.
She said she was not yet sure exactly when the body would be repatriated because arrangements are still under way.
Meanwhile, the Acting Minister of Defense, Justice and Security, Lesego Motsumi, told this paper that, “I have not yet been officially informed about Tsebe.”
She said what she is aware of is the fact that the suspect was wanted in Botswana for murder.
Tsebe was wanted in Botswana after he allegedly murdered his girlfriend at Letoreng Village near Machaneng on 21 July, 2008.
According to the state documents in the Telegraph’s possession, the suspect fled to South Africa and was arrested at Klipberkfortein Farm near Petersburg, nine days after the incident.
The Directorate of Public Prosecution attempted to extradite the suspect but President Ian Khama was asked to make an assurance that once the suspect had been extradited he would not be hanged if found guilty. The president allegedly declined to sign the “undertaking.”
The matter was heard in South African courts but they could not release the suspect to Botswana authorities until Khama had given that assurance.
While in South Africa Tsebe was treated as an illegal immigrant and he died before the two governments could resolve the issue.