Bangu’s sister speaks
“Most people say the suspect is the same person who was caught by Bangu and some others trying to steal in a yard here in Extension,” 22-year-old Maipelo Lowani tells The Voice this Wednesday.
19 days earlier, her brother Bangu Lowani became headline news when he was stabbed to death in the centre of Francistown.
Maipelo is convinced his murder was revenge for the earlier altercation.
After scouring the city for over two weeks in a desperate manhunt, Francistown Police believe they have finally caught Bangu Lowani’s killer.
In the end, they need not have looked far.
29-year-old Othata Banyatsang was arrested on Monday morning at his rundown rented accommodation in Somerset West – a stone’s throw from Lowani’s home in Extension.
Hauled before court two days later, over 200 curious Francistowners turned up to get a glimpse of the suspected killer, a man whose identity has been the talk of the town since Lowani’s high profile murder on 16 April.
A father-of-one, Lowani was stabbed to death at around 9pm, two days before his 22nd birthday.
Shackled and under heavily armed police escort, Banyatsang showed little emotion as the hostile crowd threw insults his way.
Inside court, whilst the mob bayed for his blood outside, the Maun native calmly requested bail, noting the police know where he lives and where to find him if they need him.
His plea was unsuccessful.
Despite noting the suspect ‘is innocent until proven guilty’, Magistrate Game Mooketsi remanded Banyatsang in custody – as much for his own safety as anything else – until his next appearance on 20 May.
Hours later, as he emerged into the dazzling autumn sunshine, the big crowd from earlier has swelled in size.
“Ke yoo, ke yoo (There he is),” chant the excited onlookers, before Banyatsang is ushered into a police van and escorted away.
Later in the day, when the crowd has melted away and all is calm, The Voice caught up with Lowani’s sister, 22-year-old Maipelo Lowani.
Banyatsang’s arrest has brought her little peace.
“Most people say the suspect is the same person who was caught by Bangu and some others trying to steal in a yard here in Extension. The law is protecting him rather than the deceased. Even at court they were shielding him, how about our dead brother?” she demands angrily.
Maipelo is convinced there are more people involved in her brother’s murder.
“The woman who came and called Bangu to go with them should be prosecuted too. How did the killer know Bangu was at Galo? Someone else is involved here!” she insists.
Travelling into the heart of Somerset, The Voice locate the small room where Banyatsang lived.
According to another man renting in the same yard, he had been staying here for two months.
“He came here looking for a house to rent and I told him the house is too small to stay in and he kept on pestering me to let him stay. Since I am the one looking after this yard I ended up letting him stay. He was sleeping inside and cooking his food behind his room.”
Requesting not to be named in the story, the man described Banyatsang as a quiet, private person who kept to himself.
“He was not someone you can chat with. You could never know what he was thinking or whether he has a problem or not.”