Gunmen arrested at BDP retreat

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  • Firearm found inside the car
  • Suspects under investigation by Serowe Police
  • Presidential security on high alert

LAWRENCE SERETSE & LETLHOGILE MPUANG

Police in Serowe have confirmed that they are investigating two male suspects who were arrested for being in possession of an illegal firearm at the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) retreat held in Palapye over the weekend.
This follows the beefing up of President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s security detail after assassination threats were reportedly intercepted.
Sources who formed part of the hotel security and the intense presidential security detail have informed The Botswana Gazette that two suspects were barred from entering Palapye’s Majestic Five Hotel on Saturday afternoon after a firearm box was recovered in the boot of their car during a routine security check.
When the search intensified, a gun which the security personnel say appeared to be relatively new, unregistered and also had a very visible price tag of R4000, was recovered underneath the driver’s carpet. The two men were then escorted for further questioning by the Directorate of Intelligence Services officers and senior police officials who were in charge.
The Director of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS), Director General Peter Magosi advised this publication to request for further details from the police who were now in charge of the case. “I do not have much information at the moment, I left it to the police to handle it,” he said, confirming the incident.
Information gathered by the Botswana Gazette indicates that the driver has only been identified as ‘Mack’ and is also said to be from South Africa. This publication has not been able to identify the co-suspect who was reportedly in the car at the time of arrest.
It is said that the two men claimed to be part of a security detail for one of the dignitaries at the event, but failed to point out who they came with. The incident is said to have happened in the afternoon, when both President Mokgwetsi Masisi and his predecessor Ian Khama had already made their way into the venue.
When asked about the incident, Superintendent John Letsholo of Serowe police Station confirmed the arrest of the two men and the firearm in question.
“Yes, it is true, we questioned two men on Saturday after we recovered what looked like a firearm. It also looks like a toy, but we are taking nothing for granted, so we will further our investigations,” he said.
“Currently the two men are on bail and they will be reporting everyday at the Serowe Police,” he added.
BDP Public Relations Kagelelo Banks Kentse said he was unaware of the incident as they were yet to receive the full report from the retreat.
“It has not come to our attention yet and so at this point I cannot deny nor confirm it. We are waiting to get the full report of the retreat and maybe after then we will be in a better position to comment on the matter,” he said.
This incident follows Sunday Standard reports over the weekend that President Masisi was on high security alert following threats to assassinate him and DISS Director Peter Magosi. The newspaper reported that the Presidential motorcade was forced to change as a result of foreseen eminent threats and secret agents, body guards and 30 commando officers are said to have been added to the President’s security detail.