Mogoditshane commonly known as Mogadishu just a stone's throw from Gaborone is a rioting and dangerous place with hive of activities where there is no peace. Mmegi Staff Writer PINI BOTHOKO observes that the village remains a crime haven keeping the police on their toes
The exodus of people into Mogoditshane has resulted in thugs moving in as well and claiming their spot. People’s goods are stolen everyday whether during the day or night and not even the comfort of their homes can keep them safe as the perpetrators continue to find a way of breaking into houses even in the presence owners.
The criminals are the ones that also torment the streets of Gaborone day and night. Residents of this urbanising village do not know what peaceful sleep means as in their slumber their conscience is always on the alert to any sound from outside the house.
In the past, there have been incidents in which residents were attacked, raped and their goods stolen by unknown culprits who then vanish into the night leaving no trail. The said criminals usually target television sets, mobile phones, laptops and valuable goods, which afterwards they sell cheaply. The criminals cause havoc despite Sir Seretse Khama Barracks located just within reach.
Mogaditshu is a village where it is taboo for one to leave their laundry on the drying lines.The police have on many occasions cited the location as a hot spot for criminals with theft incidents especially pick pocketing occurring more often, thus keeping the police on their toes.
Even those who assume they are safe when they drive vehicles they are attacked at roads intersections and bus stops. Back in 2019, four men attacked passengers in a combi in Mogoditshane and stabbed a man to death with a knife, stole mobile phones and snatched women’s hand bags.
The rise in crime statistics is shocking to the police in the area as 'Mogadishu' continues to give the police headache in terms of criminal activities. According to Mogoditshane Police Station commander Superintendent Russ Letsebe they have registered 12 murder cases in 2019, nine in 2020 and five murder cases in 2021 respectively, with most of the 2019/20 cases as a result of alcohol related misunderstandings.
Addressing rape cases that have been the area’s nightmare, Letsebe revealed to have recorded 101 rape cases in 2019, 71 in 2020 and 105 cases in 2021 that mostly involved teenage girls who were allegedly raped by their close family members.
“The 2021 numbers overlapse from 2020 the time in which people were in lockdown with their family members. Some are reported to have demonstrated behavior that their close family members were not aware of,” he said.
The police boss stated that back in 2019 most of the rape cases were classified as date rape in which the perpetrators were often casual friends, or individuals who victims are familiar with or had spent time with.
Letsebe further stated that armed robbery remains the area’s concern even during lockdown and curfew times indicating that they have recorded 73 cases in 2019, 61 in 2020 and 67 cases in 2021. He said in most of the cases, robbers were targeting the business community attacking them after closing their businesses.
“In some cases, robbers were following the business community from their businesses and break into their houses armed and leave with large sums of cash with a number of them being incidents in which people were attacked whilst in their sleep or robbed on the streets,” he said.
However, Letsebe further disclosed a slight decrease in some of serious crime amid COVID-19.
“I do not think there is any other area that has benefited from COVID-19 social and movement restrictions like Mogoditshane. Rape, murder and other serious violent crimes that used to be the order of the day have drastically dropped this quarter of the year. Of late, offences that we have been recording are those of people who have been violating COVID-19 preventatives measures and those that have been smuggling imported liquor,” Letsebe said.
Letsebe further stated that the upsurge in murder cases were as a result of petty issues which could have been easily avoided.
“Alcohol ban has contributed a lot towards the decline of serious crime in Mogoditshane. All of the serious crimes like murder, rape, grievous body harm where people were stabbed with knives used to occur at entertainment places with both perpetrators and victims were under the influence of alcohol,” he said.
Letsebe said with liquor shops closed countrywide amid alcohol ban, foreign liquor bottles are being smuggled and sold in Mogoditshane. He stated that they continue to arrest and charge people daily in possession of large quantities of illicit alcohol.
“Evidence is galore that there is a free flow of alcoholic beverages as no day goes by without arresting suspected illicit alcohol suppliers and alcohol imbibers in possession of alcohol,” he said.
The police officer pleaded with the residents to maintain calmness beyond COVID-19 social and movement restrictions.