“Where do missing people go?”

Gofaone Koogotsitse
  • Villagers clash with their chief over ritual murders

Angry residents of Salajwe village clashed with their chief at a meeting convened on Monday to discuss the high number of people that go missing from that village.

Tempers flared as the chief, Moala Gaerupe lashed out at the residents for allegedly spreading malicious rumous that he knew where the missing people’s bodies were buried.

“What hurts me the most is that even pastors in funerals stand before the public and accuse us of ‘eating people.’ How do they read the Bible? Mind your own business and stop looking at our things, we work for ourselves,” said the enraged Gaerupe much to the amusement of the villagers who burst out laughing.

However the undeterred chief went on to brag that he got on the government payroll in 1984, as a chief and therefore he had every right to do as he pleased with his income without being accused of killing people to become rich.

“I want you Salajwe residents to tell the authorities about the things you have been accusing me of. If you have evidence I wonder why you have not secretly informed the police so that I be taken to jail,” screamed Gaerupe before he threatened to sue any villager who would continue to defame him.

"Where do missing people go"?
IN ATTENDANCE: Salajwe residents in a meeting

In response, one of the angry villagers, Mpuse Sepato ignored the chief’s threats and registered his concerns about the escalating number of people that go missing in the small village.

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“Re swa leso la mofuta ofe? What kind of death do we die? We only find the bones of our loved after they have been missing for sometime and often we cant even tell if those bones are of human beings or animals,” said Sepato.

Another worried resident, Ruth Motsamai said they could no longer freely move to their fields during ploughing season because they didn’t want to expose their school going children to the risk of being kidnapped for ritual murders on their way to and from school.

Some of the residents who spoke in an interview after the meeting decried the village leadership disinterest in solving missing people cases.

They said it was shocking that one of the missing person’s bones were found dumped inside a pit latrine at the graveyard.

Another resident, Phagana Mokomedi whose brother has been missing for the past two years said the whole family was still dealing with the trauma caused by his disappearance without a trace.

“My brother Tametu Motlamedi went missing and we never even found his bones. Although he was mentally unfit we tried searching all over and he is nowhere to be found. My mother has fallen ill because of the incident,” revealed Mokomedi.

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At the end of the meeting Superintendent Godiramang said it was difficult to address the meeting because tempers were high.

He however noted that it was a real concern that police continue to receive reports of missing people across the country, the latest being a herdboy they are currently searching for in Makalamabedi.

Meanwhile police have indicated that from 2020 to date Salajwe has recorded five cases of missing people.

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