About eight members of Molepolole Taxi Association are in police custody for the murder of a suspected taxi thief last Wednesday.
The accused, 22-year-old Arabang Tonkana a community policing cluster member, Bokamoso Mpusetsang (32), Othusitse Pilo (46), Bofelo Siyapelo (35) both unemployed, and four taxi drivers Ditiro Motlhankane (33), Moemedi Radinonyane (28), Olefile Kgotle (35) and Kehutsafetse Ranna (43) were recently arraigned before a Molepolole Magistrates’ Court.
State prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent Uyapo Koketso, pleaded for the accused to be remanded in custody.
He said some of the suspects had not yet been arrested and that some witness statements had not yet been recorded.
The men reportedly traced the hijack suspect, Baagi Godfrey Setshwantso, 43, and his friend who allegedly stole a Honda Fit taxi on November 2nd, 2021.
Upon finding Setshwantsho, the accused men allegedly assaulted and injured him on the stomach and head.
They then reportedly took him to the police station where they were later arrested and detained for the assault.
Molepolole Police Station Commander, Superintendent Benedict Matllho, said Setshwantso was rushed to the hospital where he died shortly afterwards.
“We are still investigating a case of robbery and murder. Unfortunately the hijack suspect died before we could question him about what had transpired,” explained Superintendent Matlho.
He said a 28-year-old taxi driver was robbed of his vehicle by two men who had requested him to transport them from Phuthadikobo to their places.
Matlho said one of the suspects had sat on the front passenger seat and the other at the back of the driver.
Along the way, the man at the back allegedly placed a slasher on the driver’s neck, ordering him to stop.
Immediately the front passenger pushed the driver out of the car before they drove off.
The suspects also made away with a cellphone and P800 cash which was proceeds for the day.
The car was later found abandoned in the village.
This was the second such carjacking incident following another last month where culprits escaped with a taxi after one of them hitched a ride claiming he needed to be dropped off at a poultry farm near Lekadibeng.
Along the way he requested the driver to stop so he could relieve himself.
His colleagues then emerged from the bush and tied the driver up before they escaped in his car which is yet to be recovered.
When they confronted him, Setshwantsho allegedly confessed to the taximen that he was also involved in the previous carjacking incident.
This publication has been reliably informed that the deceased was also a suspect in a spate of stock theft cases.
Superintendent Matlho said despite the cicumstances, no one has the right to take the law into their own hands.
“There is citizen arrest whereby you arrest and take the suspect to the relevant authorities, not to take law into your own hands,” he said.
The eight remanded men will be back in court for mention on November 26th, 2021.