Mmegi Online :: Ritual murder witness decries police disinterest
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Friday 21 September 2018, 15:09 pm.
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Ritual murder witness decries police disinterest

A witness of a gruesome murder has accused the police of disinterest.
By Greg Kelebonye Tue 11 Nov 2014, 16:28 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Ritual murder witness decries police disinterest








“It is tough witnessing a murder and having the police treat your report like you are either insane or must have seen it in a dream,” says Masego Keolopile, a Kotolaname resident who now lives in fear after witnessing a grizzly ritual murder. She relates her story thus:

“I was waiting for a lift with a young woman at Kotolaname stop. A beige Toyota Stallion came along with two men in it. They gave us a lift. Along the way they said they needed to fetch someone somewhere. They branched off into the road that goes to Morabaneng. They drove for a while and I became worried. I asked the young woman if there was another route from there to Molepolole. She assured me there was.

The vehicle was speeding. At one point we passed an old tuck-shop, which the girl said belonged to someone called Nkane. The men turned, then stopped their vehicle soon thereafter and said they were fetching someone close by. I was worried and asked the young woman if the men did not pose any danger. She was busy listening to some music from her cellphone and dismissed my fear.

The men returned soon after with a third filthy looking and scruffy man. The man was carrying a white bucket – which appeared from the way the man held it, to be weighty. I initially thought he was carrying milk or sour milk. Suddenly the driver said we should get off the vehicle, as I was trying to get to my children, he said I should scram. I was too shocked to immediately digest what he was saying and asked him how he expected me to find my way in the bush. Seeing my hesitation, he repeated his instruction - angrily. Only then did the young woman, who all along was listening to music from her cellphone realise something was wrong – I want to believe she saw the man’s angry face. When she realised I was being instructed to leave, she said she was going with me, but it was too late as the two men who came with us grabbed the young woman, threw her down on the side of the vehicle.

I took my children and bolted as the young woman screamed. I could not run fast enough with two small children, so I hid in the bushes. From where I hid I could see everything the men were doing. The young woman’s screams were getting weaker and then went silent. I saw the scruffy guy walk over to the two men with the white bucket. When he lifted it from the ground onto the van, it was red, ostensibly from blood. Then I saw the men lift up the girl from the ground onto the van. Her body was limp and she was all bloodied and naked.

I realised the men would now come for me, and took off.  As I was running I met a man called Jeff, who after hearing my story called the police. The police said they did not have a vehicle to come to the scene. Jeff eventually got me a lift, which took me home. I was numb. I could not tell anybody what I had just witnessed. Then, I threw up. Only then was I able to approach my neighbour who is a member of the village policing cluster. We both went to Kotolaname police who had gone for elections duty.  We then went to the clerk who upon hearing my story immediately called Molepolole police. This was in the late afternoon.

The police came around 3am on Friday. We drove to the area where the men killed the young woman. We did not disembark from the police vehicle. The police decided we should go back home, as it was too dark to do any search. That morning I went to the clinic. The police CID arrived as I was leaving the clinic. We went together to the crime area, but the police said since it had rained the previous day, it was possible any evidence could have been lost. 

The CID officers then called a search party comprising villagers and the police. We traversed the area where the crime was committed but could not find a corpse. However we

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met some herdsmen who said they had seen the vehicle fitting the description I had given passing by. They led the team to where they said they had seen the vehicle stop. When we got there, all that we found was a shallow but empty pit. The police then abandoned the search. On Monday together with my cluster police neighbour I went to CID offices in Molepolole for an update. I got to know that they had located the vehicle and had found blood in it.

I also understand that when they confronted the driver about the blood he claimed it was dog’s blood. I understand the police took samples of the blood for tests and wanted to know if they had not yet established that it indeed belonged to a human being. As we were there, the police arrived with the driver of the vehicle. I boldly told them the man was the killer.

 They arranged an identification parade and I was still able to pick the man from the others. I told them I would be able to do the same with his other accomplice even if they paraded him with a hundred other men. The police then had me confront the man, and it was clear he could not rebut my statement. They then took him into custody.

While I understand the man provided a description of his friend that matched mine, the police are yet to call me to identify the man. I don’t even know if they arrested him. I got to establish however that the police released the suspect the same Monday.”

From the day I saw the men kill that young woman, I could not sleep at home. I lodged at my neighbour’s.  On Tuesday night, around 9pm, we realised my house was burning. The flame was so powerful that before we could even exit my neighbour’s house, the roof had collapsed. Other neighbours are saying they saw a vehicle passing slowly by the roadside, with its lights off. Its lights came on a few hundred metres from my house.”

Keolopile’s house is located next to the road.

“The police came, but they have not arrested anyone. However they said it appeared someone had poured some highly combustible material on the roof and the house.”  Keolopile also has a vivid description of the slain young woman: “She was coffee-coloured – almost light skinned. She had a thinner upper body and pronounced hips. She was wearing blue jeans, a pink T-shirt and fashionable menangaso [sneakers] buttoned on the sides. The shoes have a rough print. Her hair was well kept – and I suspect it could have been a hairpiece she was wearing.”

Keolopile said the young woman had said that she was going to Molepolole but had not stated where she was coming from or who her parents or siblings were. Therein lies the problem, as the Mmegi team would also find out. Despite driving the length and breath of Kotolaname area, covering such areas as Morabaneng, Monwane, Mohage and Ramositsa a distance over 100 kilometres, there was no one who knew the young woman, who strangely enough must have been familiar enough with the area to identify certain landmarks for Keolopile.

“The problem with people in this area is that they are afraid to talk. They believe being a witness could lend you in jail,” said a herdsman we found between Monwane and Morabaneng.

Kotolaname Kgosi, Mogakolodi Lethokwa confirmed the story.

“We are still puzzled as we do not know whose daughter she is. A man who was guarding the election tent says the young woman passed him earlier that morning, apparently on her way to the bus-stop,” he said. Kgosi Lethokwa said the social services office was providing counselling for Masego.

Senior Superintendent Kevin Mookodi, Police Officer Commanding Molepolole District said they believed a crime had been committed and were actively investigating.

“We believe more so that the reporter’s house was burnt, and are giving this matter the seriousness it deserves,” he said. Mookodi said following the torching of the woman’s house they were shadowing her to ensure she was safe.

“We have not received any report of a missing person and encourage anyone with a missing relative to come forward,” he said.

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