TONOTA: Hundreds of mourners gathered in Tonota over the weekend to pay their last respect to fallen police officer constable Focus Sponge Matsapa.
Matsapa who was based at Sejelo police in Kanye, was brutally shot by armed robbers who were stealing cash at a cash-loan spar in Kanye nearly two weeks ago. He died at Bokamoso hospital late last week from injuries sustained during the gun exchange.
The funeral was marked by a somber mood with patches of laughter, as many narrated their encounters with the man also nicknamed ‘Easy Target’.
The funeral also gave relatives and friends an opportunity to hear a correct version of how Matsapa was brutally shot by robbers from an eye witness point of view.
Various speakers at the funeral described the fallen officer as a brave and hardworking man. Matsapa also had a strong sense of humour, speakers said.
Speaking at the funeral one constable identified by his initials as constable P Kenosi who attended the robbery with Matsapa said that shooting ensued as soon as they attempted to diffuse the robbery scene and make an arrest. He said the robbers were attempting to escape when the shooting began.
An emotional Kenosi explained that the robbers had fled into a bushy hideout during the shooting.
According to Kenosi, Matsapa took a different direction during the chase with robbers, and when he (Kenosi) took a closer look at him he realised that he had been shot in the groin area. “I think he took a different direction after realising that he has been shot,” the officer based at Sejelo police narrated”.
The officer also said that he managed to take Matsapa to a place of safety before calling for help from colleagues.
Deputy Police commissioner Bruno Paledi said that he did not have many encounters with the deceased.
“ However from what I hear he was a hardworking and caring person who was brave as well. He was a real hero at the police and the nation.
What his family have said about him is also testimony that he had a good character”.
He also hailed Kenosi who he described as a hero for managing to take Matsapa to a place of safety before calling for help.
Paledi expressed worry that armed robbers were now becoming common in the country. He also said that the police would have to commit a lot of resource fighting robberies. “ Death of police officers during robberies also weakens the force meaning that we will have to do our best to avert the robberies.”