Report confirms Police tortured missing man

Staff Writer
FRANCISTOWN: Commissioner of police Thebeyame Tsimako and senior officers are reportedly sitting on a damning report implicating some Molepolole policemen in the possible death of Olebile Kefhitilwe.

Kefhitilwe is an armed robbery suspect who reportedly went missing from police custody under questionable circumstances 11 months ago and his disappearance has left family members fuming as "the police could be responsible for his disappearance".

Mmegi investigations in Molepolole last month revealed that following allegations that Kefhitilwe went missing whilst in police custody internal investigations implicating some serving members of the service were instituted.

The investigations were prompted by reports raised by Kefhitilwe's cellmates that before he went missing from police custody, he and others were tortured by the police.

The report does not speak well about the police action of September 14. Instead of taking the armed robbery suspects to the state prison, as requested by the state prosecutor, the police chose to remand them in the Molepolole Police Station cells.

The explanation rendered by a junior officer, who detained them was that, "I needed the prisoners to be kept at the station cells for further investigations."

The report shows that of the seven accused persons only five were detained at the Molepolole Police Station cells whilst the two, who are security officers, were released.

The report reflect that a senior member of a six-man team holding the rank of sub-inspector led about five Special Constables whose names are withheld because the report has not yet been made public.

Corroborated by the missing man's uncle, retired assistant commissioner of police Baile Matthews Kefhitilwe, the report shows that the sub inspector and some of his men first took one suspect and tortured him along the Gaborone-Molepolole road using a Toyota car.

The sub inspector reportedly had warned robbery suspects that they were going to be tortured by members of his team so he could extract the truth out of them.

Despite the fact that the inmates had raised complaints with other officers on duty during the night shift, it could not help them as the leader of the team that tortured inmates was senior to all of them as reports were made to sergeants and constables and they could not reportedly dissuade him from his target.

The first cellmate (name withheld) to be tortured alerted his cellmates about the impending ordeal. "Olebile was reportedly the most vocal of all the cellmates and was totally opposed to police torture as a means of interrogating them for the crime committed," reads the report. To make matters worse, the determined sub inspector of police and his six-man team reportedly took Olebile head-on and a scuffle ensued in the cells, which reportedly lasted about an hour.

In fact, it was Olebile and Kaboyaone Motlhaope who were reportedly involved in a scuffle with the police to the extent that the six officers found themselves allegedly enjoying a feast on the two cellmates.

It was here that Olebile was reportedly taken out of the cells, "unconscious and loaded into a car by the police sub-inspector and his team

of Special Constables, who decided to drive away under the careful observations of the now worried cellmates who feared for the health of Olebile who was now unconscious".

One of the cellmates Motlhaope was allowed access to a health facility at the Scottish Livingstone Hospital where he was treated and discharged. Another cellmate (name withheld) had allegedly raised allegations that the police took rounds, abusing him in the thickets near Molepolole.

The report also shows that Olebile left the police cells unconscious with some broken fingers on his right hand.
Even when interviewed by the internal investigating team, the six officers who are suspected to have "tortured" Olebile conceded there was a scuffle in the police cells, as Olebile and Motlhaope did not want to be separated as they were chained together.

Other cellmates who could not raise a hand as the police were reportedly in a rage witnessed the hour-long police brutality.
The report also reveals that some members of the public had witnessed the police torturing the suspects inside a Toyota car in the village somewhere near the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) offices, which turned out to be the one used by the sub-inspector and his team of special constables. An official report was later made to the police station and the team suspected to be involved in the torture was contacted through a police radio communication and they confirmed to have been in that area at the material time.

Mmegi is in possession of a report sourced from Molepolole police station, where some concerned officers are worried because "the matter has the potential of tarnishing the good image of the police service if not handled properly".                
Police spokesperson assistant commissioner of police, Christopher Mbulawa confirmed yesterday that police investigations into the matter of a missing person and armed robbery involving Olebile were ongoing.

In his view, there is no conclusive report that is circulating within the police services. He stated, "The obvious thing is that those who were with him (Olebile) last, will be investigated. We are going to be broad as it's our intention to widen the net even wider."

Asked about the recommendations of the investigations, which Mmegi is privy to, Mbulawa denied there was any recommendation as investigations are still ongoing. Mmegi can reveal that a recommendation as to what action should be taken was made a long time ago but no action has been taken.

Mbulawa stated that although investigations have been going on for 11 months, "let's also bear in mind that what came to us as the management was a case of a missing person and it's not like this happened today."

He indicated that if any persons are implicated in any wrongdoing the law would take its course. "For now, we have not concluded our investigations and they are ongoing as we speak," he said.




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