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Guilty by association

NOT A LAUGHING MATTER: Prosper Mabureki

Zim man accuses BPS of harassment

Francistown police have been accused of harassment by a Zimbabwean man who claims he was unlawfully detained and physically assaulted for crimes he knew nothing about.

An emotional Prosper Mabureki told The Voice he was repeatedly whipped underneath his feet and his phone confiscated during his 48-hour detainment on 18th and 19th July.

“They did not even bother with a holding charge. My only crime was that I was acquainted with someone they had in detention. I’m guilty by association,” blasted the upset Mabureki, who has all the legal paperwork needed to live in Botswana.

Mabureki’s troubles began following the arrest of four Zimbabwean nationals on 17th July in Tatisiding (Bad Intentions, 22nd July, The Voice).

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The foreign quartet: Donald Casper Sibanda, 38; Leaviet Ian Ndlovu, 32; Rodrick Mutaurwa; and the group’s only female, Michelle Monica Mangisi, 21, were raided by the police, with the cops finding two unlicensed guns and live ammunition on the premises.

According to a police report, the four were in possession of a black pistol and a hammer rifle during the search of their house at New Stance.

The three men would later be charged for a robbery that took place in Francistown on 18th March. They were accused of breaking into a house at Universal Estates and making away with four smart phones worth a combined value of around P10,500.

The thieves also took P12,000 in cash as well as US$600, using ‘actual violence’ in the process.

Mabureki said when police found his contacts on one of the suspects’ phones, they tracked him down to his house in Tatisiding.

“I wasn’t home. They found my wife, who gave them my number,” he narrated, adding he was engaged somewhere else but promised to report to police in the morning.

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“I did exactly that. When I arrived, they immediately handcuffed me because I had admitted to knowing Rodrick,” he said.

“I could not deny knowing him because I do. I don’t necessarily subscribe to his life choices, but he’s my homeboy and family friend. His father helped bury my brother,” cried Mabureki.

Relating his 48-hour ordeal inside the cell, the unhappy Mabureki revealed the police accused him of being a party to the crimes committed by the quartet.

“They accused me in front of the four suspects and both of them professed my innocence, of which the police responded by beating us up and sending us back to our cells,” he seethed, the memory still rankling even though the physical wounds have long since healed.

Mabureki said he was released after 48 hours while his phone was left behind, apparently to be used for further investigations.

“I’ve not been charged with anything, but the police have flatly refused to give me back my phone. Is this how things are done in Botswana?” he asked rhetorically.

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With his frustrations turning to fury, Mabureki told The Voice he was also denied access to the Station Commander and was ordered out of the premises.

“This stand-off with the police is affecting my relationship with my family, and is also making me uncomfortable because, as a Zimbabwean, I fear that I might be a police target. That’s why it took me this long to report because I fear Botswana police,” he explained, his fury replaced with trepidation.

The Voice reached out to Central Police Station Commander, Lebalang Maniki, who said he was not aware of the matter.

The police boss, however, invited the complainant to come see him at his office, or call his direct line.

On Wednesday afternoon, Maniki confirmed Mabureki had taken him up on the offer, explaining they would be keeping hold of the phone until further notice.

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