Witness recounts encounter with Merubisi gang

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MOLEPOLOLE: The magistrate court sat in stunned silence yesterday as a 23-year-old recounted the night he was beaten and stabbed by members of Thamaga’s notorious Merubisi gang, losing his left eye in the process.

Onalethata Lesole was testifying in a case in which three cousins, Bogolo Kowa (23), Metlha Kowa (20), Kagiso Kowa (22) are facing a count of causing grievous bodily harm. The trio is also facing numerous other charges relating to separate incidents in the village.

Appearing before magistrate Lindiwe Makgoro, Lesole said he had been hanging out with his friends at Urban Night Club in the village on July 7, 2013 when the accused trio came over and poked him in the face. “I was with my friends Ofentse Rankgopo and Keabetswe Lesole when the trio approached us and Kagiso started poking us in the face. We didn’t even retaliate,” he said. Lesole said when the club closed, and were leaving for home, the suspects returned and began harassing them before Bogolo drew a knife, slapped him and then stabbed him in the left eye.

“I tried running away but I fell in front of the club and my friends came and helped me escape to a neighbour’s home from where we called my father,” he said. The victim told court that he had been in and out of hospital with two operations done to his eyes. However, the attack left his eye permanently damaged and unable to see.

Under cross-examination, Lesole remained adamant about the identity of his attackers and the instrument used to attack him.

Defence counsel, Ofentse Khumomotse representing Bogolo rubbished the fact that Lesole was stabbed with a knife, saying the victim’s written statement did not indicate that he was sure what was used to stab him.

“All the versions you have given in court are different from what you have just said in court. What should the court believe,” he said.

The victim’s friends, Rankgopo and Keabetswe also took the stand, as the case was adjourned to February 2016. The state intends to call three more witnesses including a doctor.

Editor's Comment
Botswana needs proper rehabilitation centres

Our sister publication The Monitor earlier this week carried a story on serious human rights abuses being meted on people who have gone for rehabilitation at a boot camp in Kgatleng. Allegations cite verbal and physical abuses, children being stripped of their dignity and shaved in front of others. While the abuse came to light after a suicide incident of a 23-year-old, Botswana Institute for Reintegration and Rehabilitation of Offenders’...

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