There is mounting excitement for residents of Tlokweng that the two rape suspects who they suspect to have been terrorising them are now safely behind bars. For a while now, Tlokweng has known no peace as rapidly rising numbers of rape cases have been reported in the usually sedate village.
Even though one of them managed to flee, there is a collective sigh of relief amongst residents.
The duo’s Wednesday arrest left Tlokweng residents applauding the police for a job well done across social media platforms, stating how relieved they were that the suspects have been apprehended.
Residents disclosed how they have been living in fear inside their own homes at the hands of the alleged rapists. Since last year, life came to a standstill for the residents because of men who have been invading their homes, robbing and raping women.
It all began last year, when the heroic Tlokweng police suspected that there was a serial rapist on the loose believing that one person was involved in a string of rape cases. Then, the station started with recording two rapes in January, the number increasing to five in February and 11 by March.
The police reported that the illusive culprit targeted women, attacked them with a sharp object and then sexually violated them, claiming his friends were waiting outside and that if victims screamed, the other men would join in. Most of the victims then were women in their 20s, but later on the horrors extended to women in their 30s.
Progressive Ndlovu, 31, and Thabelo Nfakazi Ndlovu were arrested after allegedly robbing and raping two sisters in front of their mother at Masetlheng ward in Tlokweng on Wednesday at around 3am.
The police linked the duo and another suspect by the name of Lloyd who is still at large to eight similar cases in the recent past. They were arrested in possession of eight laptops, five cell phones and cables.
The trio’s reign of terror started mid-last year with their modus operandi being to steal valuables like cellphones, laptops, taking people’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) cards to withdraw cash and raping women.
Initially, villagers and police thought they had mere petty criminals in the villagers’ midst, but when more robberies and rape cases surfaced in the village, they began to suspect that with copycat motives, the notorious criminals were the same perpetrators.
On Wednesday the trio allegedly attacked a family at Masetlheng ward armed with an axe and robbed them of a laptop valued at P3,500, notepad valued at P2,000, two Huawei cellphones valued P1,800
During the attack, they allegedly took the victims’ car, ATM card and withdrew cash amounting to P1,900. In the process the trio allegedly raped two sisters in front of their mother forcing her to watch the terrible incident. The duo was arrested while in possession of eight laptops, five cell phones and cables.
Apparently, the trio allegedly attacked another family, still in Masetlheng ward in February at around 10pm and robbed them of money amounting to P12,000, They raped two women in the process.
Then, the police reported that they allegedly invaded the victims’ house whilst the family was still watching television, tied up the husband and made him watch as they raped his wife and his cousin.
They allegedly took the victim’s ATM card to withdraw money, something that they are reported to have also done in the recent case. Appearing before court on Wednesday, one of the victims, with her husband supporting her to be strong, broke down in tears seeing Progressive (Ndlovu) getting out of a police car. Whilst sitting inside the courtroom listening to court proceedings, sadness was written all over the couple’s faces, as they could not stop starring at him.
Reached for comment following the arrest of the duo, the Botswana Police Service’s (BPS) director of crime intelligence, Nunu Lesetedi told The Monitor that they have been on their toes searching for the suspects. He said their investigations have established that the trio lives in Hillbrow, South Africa and only crossed illegally into Botswana with Tlokweng being their first stop to commit crime and cross back into South Africa. “One of the suspects, Progressive claims to be working as a labour at Oriental City at Hillbrow. We suspect that all along they have been crossing into Botswana illegally at night, committing crime and crossing back into South Africa.
“After receiving the report, we started the search and managed to arrest them in the bush between Botswana and South Africa whilst returning in possession of the stolen goods,” Lesetedi said.
Lesetedi vowed that the police would try by all means to locate the third suspect so that justice is served.