Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Witnesses allege assassination plot against them if they testify against officers

Some suspects, who are police officers under investigation, are said to be plotting to assassinate potential witnesses following the death of a 29-year-old man who was allegedly tortured and hanged during interrogation at Mogoditshane police station last year.

The Botswana Police Service is reluctant to respond to key questions surrounding the death of the suspect, describing the case as a “sensitive matter”.

A Sunday Standard investigation has revealed that some of the witnesses have received death threats if they give any testimony to the investigators.

The witnesses, who asked to remain anonymous, told Sunday Standard that some of the suspects threatened them with death should they go ahead and testify against them.

“I want justice to be done in this case but now if I am being threatened by those who have to protect us I might change and not testify against them because my life is in danger,” said one witness, wondering why police investigate themselves since “they can cover up to protect their colleagues as well as the integrity of the organization”.

Senior Assistant Police Commissioner, Mathews Letsholo, said this “is a sensitive matter and police investigations have been completed”.

Letsholo was very reluctant to divulge the number of police officers who were investigated or even conform whether or not they are still on duty or had been interdicted.

“The case has been forwarded to the Directorate of Public Prosecution who will then give advice about the case whether to press charges against the suspects or not,” he said.

About the death threats allegation, he said, “We are not aware of allegations that the suspects were plotting to assassinate the potential witnesses.”

These investigations came after about 5 Mogoditshane police detectives allegedly tortured and hanged a suspected criminal who was in their custody about 12 months ago.

The suspects, five detectives, under an operation unit called “Batshware”, (meaning ‘arrest them’) and led by the former security intelligence service, commonly known as “SIS”, which gave birth to the Directorate of Intelligence Security a year ago, arrested MothalyJordan Setlampoloka, of Mahalapye who was among the wanted suspects on a police list.

Setlampoloka was allegedly tortured during interrogation at Mogoditshane police station.

His body was later found hanging from a tree in Senamakola Lands near Gabane Village.

Police Commissioner, Thebeyame Tsimako, ordered investigations into the circumstances that led to Setlampoloka’s death.

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