Mmegi Online :: Now Thamaga residents live in terror of SSG
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Now Thamaga residents live in terror of SSG

Just as Thamaga appears to have some respite from the notorious ‘Merubisi’ and ‘Matsaakankanne’ gangs, another form of worry is building up in the village. The people are now scared stiff by the presence of the police paramilitary wing - the Special Support Group (SSG).
By Staff Writer Fri 19 Dec 2014, 10:51 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Now Thamaga residents live in terror of SSG








Those who have crossed paths with the SSG say the gun and baton toting green uniformed paramilitary police officers have now replaced terror with terror, effectively establishing marshal law in the village.

“Last week, I heard someone knock harshly at the door. Initially I was afraid it was Merubisi, but then I realised from the conversation outside – as the men were talking to my neighbour in the other room, that they were police.

They were demanding that my neighbor should show them beer that he was hiding.

“As I opened my door, I was met with a slap to the face, them someone whipped me.  One of the policemen demanded harshly that I should bring out the beer that I was selling. I don’t sell beer, but I had three beers in a plasticbag in my room.

The officer then said I was lying, and proceeded to crush my small toes on both feet with the heels of his boot. It was excruciatingly painful. They took turns beating me until one of them said, ‘Tlogelang motho yoo le tloga le ikgolega’.

“They then went about every room in the yard and instructed the tenants to bring out the beer that they were selling. Now, even assuming there was someone selling beer in this home with numerous tenants, could all of them possibly sell it?” said a young-man simply known as Nametso.

In another incident the SSG members are said to have assaulted a man who had gone to Thamaga to pay his builders when the police unit saw him as he was entering his home.

A cousin of the man narrated how the SSG pounced on the man who had just finished paying his builders and was almost back home.

“They did not even want to understand who he was or where he was going, but started whipping and kicking him.”

In yet another incident a teacher at Sekgele Secondary School was reported to have beaten up by the paramilitary outfit a stones-throw from his house.

“He tried to explain to them that he was just arriving home, having

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failed to get a taxi, but they told him he was lying, that the house he was claiming to be his was not his and that he was not a teacher. When they took him to the police station he was bleeding and crying,” said the neighbour.

“The SSG have visited terror on anyone they meet at night. They do not want to understand why you are walking past curfew time, which appears to start anytime between 8:00 and 9:00 pm, but I knock off around 7p.m. in Gaborone and spend the next hour hitching a ride to Thamaga.

The village does not have enough taxis, and I have to walk a couple of kilometres to my house. I am resigned to my fate, should I meet with the SSG,” said a resident.

A regular police officer told Mmegi the problem with the SSG was that they appeared overzealous to the point they disregarded advice from “civilian” police officers normally stationed at Thamaga.

“We are worried as police who normally deal with civilians. We have been told that the SSG will be addressed to tone down as they have now become a terror to residents,” said the police officer, who preferred anonymity for fear of victimisation.

Kweneng Region Officer Commanding Senior Superintendent Kevin Mookodi however insisted that no reports of SSG brutality had reached his office.

“No such report has reached our office, but at the same time it would not be proper to deny something of that nature has happened. I shall be going to Thamaga to investigate what you are saying,” he said.

Mookodi said should it be the case that the SSG were violating the rights of the citizen, then remedial action would have to be taken.

“Even in a curfew situation, you do not just assault citizens. You need to understand why they are walking about at the time they are doing – sometimes they may have an emergency.  You ask and assist accordingly or arrest when it is necessary. As the police we cannot talk through batons and guns,” he said.

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