- Victim sustained broken pelvic bone
- Is yet to be attended to at Nyangabgwe Referral
- Police mum on brutality incident
- Gazette reporters denied access to victim
A few days after The Botswana Gazette reported a case of police brutality that rendered a recovering paraplegic wheelchair-bound again, the victim Castro Ishmael Mmele is now bed-ridden at Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital in Francistown and fears that he may never walk again.
Excruciating pains compelled Castro Ishmael Mmele to return to the same hospital in Selibe-Phikwe where the staff was too intimidated to examine him in the presence of the police officers and armed soldiers who had taken him there after setting upon him like a gang of brutes.
Selibe-Phikwe Government Hospital soon realised that his injuries and condition were beyond what they could do for him and referred him to Nyangabgwe in Francistown where Mmele was hospitalised last Thursday. Several attempts on different days by The Botswana Gazette to visit him were flatly denied.
At the hospital’s reception, The Gazette team was told that Mmele was allowed only one visit per day and that the permit had already been given to someone else, although the receptionist declined to state who the visitor was. The team was met with the same obstinate rebuff the following day. However, Mmele revealed in a cellphone interview that he did not have any visitors on those specific days. “I was visited only by the police of the Criminal Investigations Department who do not need a permit,” he said. Commenting on his condition, he said doctors had found that he sustained a broken pelvic bone and had to await pelvic surgery.
A spokesperson of Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital, Keekae Majeremane, would not be drawn into sharing anything about Mmele’s condition. “I can only confirm that Mmele is currently hospitalised here but as for his medical status I cannot comment because it is against our policy,” Majeremane told The Botswana Gazette in an interview.
Speaking from his hospital bed, Mmele stated that he had sustained a broken pelvic bone in the course of his brutal assault by soldiers and police officers but was yet to be attended to at Nyangabgwe. “I was brought to Nyangagwe on Thursday last week but I am yet to get the medical attention,” he said. “I have learnt that I might be referred to Gaborone Private Hospital (GPH) for surgery because the theatre here does not work.”
At Botshabelo Police Station in Selibe -Phikwe, the Commander Superintendent Elias Malope did not respond to his mobile phone when contacted to ask him yet again about Mmele’s hospitalisation after allegedly being brutalised by police officers and soldiers. In a previous interview, Superintendent Malope said Mmele’s case was under investigation. The Botswana Gazette wanted Mmele to say what the investigation has found so far.
At the headquarters of Botswana Police Service in Gaborone, Senior Superintendent Dipheko Motube also did not answer his mobile phone. He is the head of police public relations.
Nevertheless, Mmele is in his present state of broken bones after he was allegedly set upon by more than 15 police officers and soldiers on patrol duty for COVID-19 protocols to ensure the health and safety of Batswana. The incident happened two weeks ago when he was asked to show his permit when he was on his way to hospital in Selibe-Phikwe. At the time of the alleged assault, Mmele was already disabled and was on crutches after his legs were broken by a front loading machine at BCL Mine in 2016. He was well on his way to recovery when he met his assailants. He fears he may never walk again.