Five Somali immigrants, who are currently in detention at the Francistown Centre For Illegal Immigrants, appeared before Francistown Magistrate, Kgololesego Segabo, to answer to two charges of assault and damage of government property.
It is alleged that the accused, Ahmed Omar, Abdul Kavin, Mahomed Shaikh, Mahomed Isac and Ahmad Ali Muse, on the 7th of February this year at the Francistown Centre For Illegal Immigrants, jointly assaulted one Abel Tatlhego, a fellow prisoner.
It is also alleged that during the same day, the accused persons jointly broke and damaged two aluminium kitchen windows valued at over P5 000 at the Centre for Illegal Immigrants being the property of Botswana government.
Four of the accused have all pleaded not guilty to the offences, while the 5th accused, Mahomed Isac, pleaded guilty to the first count.
Shaikh, who is the 3rd accused, pleaded with the court to grant him bail as he is a refugee based at Dukwi refugee camp.
Asked by the Magistrate on why he was arrested and detained at the Centre for Illegal Immigrants, the accused said that he was still in the dark as to why he was arrested at detained. He said that he is a law abiding refugee who has been in Botswana for 12 years and has never had any brushes with the law.
“I was shocked early in February when police officers raided my house and just arrested me without advancing any reasons. I was only refereed to the Francistown Centre For Illegal Immigrants without any reasons given,” he told court.
However, the Magistrate ruled that all the accused persons should be remanded in custody and will appear for mention next week Friday for the court to set trial dates.
Information reaching The Sunday Standard is that all the accused persons are part of a ring of Somali immigrants who were nabbed by the Directorate of Intelligence Services agents in Francistown and Dukwi during a DIS operation early February this year after they were found to be doing business and residing in Botswana illegally.
The DIS boss, Isaac Kgosi, has declined to comment on such an operation saying that they do not disclose their operations to the public.