COVER UP: Police torture suspect to death?
- Was suspected for ATM explosions
- Alleged to sell explosives
- BPS dodges media enquiries
Francistown is grappling with fresh reports of an attempt to cover up the death of a robbery suspect alleged to have died during interrogation at Kutlwano Police Station.
While all Botswana Police Service (BPS) authorities contacted by The Botswana Gazette dodged enquiries, sources who are privy to details have confirmed the death of the suspected man who hails from Gweta village. Kutlwano Station Commander Neo Serumula however could not confirm the incident, saying he was on holiday in Bobonong. On the other hand, Assistant Commissioner Dipheko Motube referred enquiries from this publication to BPS Public Relations Officer Near Bagali who promised to enquire about the issue from Kutlwano Police before discussing further.
Bagali however called this publication denying any knowledge of the incident. “I do not have any details concerning the issue. In fact, even if the incident had occurred, we would not share details with the media. But obviously if there is any suspect who died in police cells, the police have to carry out an investigation before the family can be informed,” he said.
According to sources, the suspect was in the police Wanted List for alleged Automated Teller Machine (ATM) robberies as he was allegedly the ring leader of a syndicate which blasted ATMs with explosives around the country. Sources say the suspect was nabbed by the police with the help of military intelligence in Sebina village.
He was detained in Kutlwano for interrogation where he met his untimely death. “The suspect was beaten and tortured by the police during interrogation for being uncooperative until he became unconscious. Eventually he was taken to Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital where he was certified dead upon arrival,” a source within Kutlwano Police Station said.
A few years back, another suspect Olefile Momphitlhe who hails from Molepolole allegedly died in custody after handing himself to the police; while another armed robbery suspect Olebile Kefhitlwe disappeared whilst in police custody. His family suspected that the police tortured him to death and concealed the truth.