Tension and fear engulfed Molepolole village on Thursday afternoon after an angry mob went on the rampage destroying and looting a shopping complex, attempting to burn down another and attacking others. The source of anger; the ritual murder of a former intern at Molepolole Magistrate Court, Nthabiseng Motlogelwa at Mpadithata settlement near Mogonono lands on the outskirts of Molepolole last October. Four suspects appeared before a fully packed court, with crowds spilling to the Molepolole magistrate court premises, on Thursday morning.
Keagile Sekwati, Mojalemotho Mokate, Moetapele Kgololo and Mosimanegape Moatshe and five others who did not appear in court are accused of killing Motlogelwa. Eyewitnesses said the huge crowd crammed the courtroom and brought business to a standstill disrupting proceedings demanding that the ritual murder case be attended to before anything else. After the suspects were arraigned briefly before the magistrate, a huge crowd that had gathered outside the court in Boswelakoko ward since day-break demanded to be handed the suspects to lynch them, but security agents managed to smuggle them out of court through a backdoor and whisked them away to their holding cells.
This enraged the youthful mob, with some swearing that they will destroy the property of some businessmen whose names have been mentioned alongside those of the suspects. The crowd broke into groups, which spread out in different directions into the village. Shortly thereafter a shopping complex in Maunatlala was destroyed and looted by the mob. Assistant Superintendent Gontse Segale - the acting station commander for Molepolole police - confirmed the Thursday riots but said they managed to contain the situation before it got out of hand and spread to other areas.
She said the mob caused destruction at Highway Shopping Complex but the riot police (Special Support Group) managed to disperse looters. But the damage was huge. Segale said although the cost of damage was yet to be confirmed it was huge as rioters threw stones smashing doors and windows in the process, before forcing them open and looting the stock. Eye witnesses said the looters took all beverages in all fridges and cash from the till before escaping. The mob also smashed windows of the nearby Agri-Corner and looted bags of agriculture supplies and other items.
An attempt to cause destruction at MoAfrika Beer Garden and KeMotse shopping complex was thwarted by security agents who responded with speed and secured the premises before the mob arrived. Although the situation had calmed down on Friday, riot police and soldiers stood guard in armoured vehicles at the complexes which rooters had threatened to attack. The Police have reportedly arrested five people following a riot. The suspects will return to court on December 31.