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Thirsty lions, buffaloes invade villages

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Residents of Manxotae and surrounding villages are living in fear following a sudden invasion by lions in pursuit of weak and thirsty buffaloes which have infested the surrounding villages in search of water.

When The Midweek Sun arrived in the concerned villages, herds of buffaloes and elephants were seen, in their hundreds roaming around homesteads competing with human beings for the scarce water from the wells dug in the river bed. Regional Wildlife Officer for the Central District, Onalenna Kgathi, revealed to The Midweek Sun that the sudden influx of lions in the concerned villages is due to trailing the dehydrated and weak buffaloes as well as looking for water.

“When herds of buffaloes and elephants are on their migration routes, lions trail them to feed on the weak ones hence the current situation experienced by the villages in the Nata area,” she said. A farmer whose six cattle were recently eaten by lions near the almost dry village dam, Mopedi Ntuane was lost for words as he said that the lions which have invaded their cattle posts and share a water drinking hole with their cattle have been killing and eating his cattle.

“So far I have only managed to find the carcasses of only three of my animals as the rest of them were completely devoured by the lions. Just last week, my herd boys found lions eating one of my animals and the wildlife officers were called to chase away the lions. Unfortunately, one cannot claim compensation for the killing of one’s animal by lions from the Wildlife Department without any proof which includes the remains of the carcass. I will be compensated for the three animals whose carcasses I located,” he said.

Another farmer Tshireletso Ngaka who lost four beasts and one horse finds it hard to accept the loss especially because, he said, it was not the first time he had lost his livestock to predators. “Over the years, I have lost count of the number of my livestock eaten by lions but this year things are bound to become worse because, due to the drought and shortage of water, our cattle share the same drinking holes with lions thereby making it easy for livestock to be eaten at the drinking hole,” he said Ngaka.

He accused  the Wildlife Department of taking a very long time to compensate them, he also complained that their cash compensation is not enough since it has got nothing to do with the value of the animal eaten. Ngaka informed this publication that a horse on the market is sold for cash in the region of P7 000-00 whereas the government gives them P3, 500 for the loss of a horse to the predators. Ntuane attributed the invasion of villages by wild animals to water shortage in the region.

He said they had always anticipated it since there are no dams or boreholes out in the bush far away from villages which can be used by thirsty wild animals.“Farmers around the area have long advised the Wildlife Department to keep away wild animals from villages by constructing many dams in the bush where animals live far away from people but to no avail. Once these animals get thirsty, it is logical for them to look for water all over the place hence they end up tracing it to the nearby villages,” he said.

Another victim, Dona Amos could neither hide her disappointment at the current turn of events. “These lions will leave us empty handed as they are all over the place. Our cattle are not used to them and as such, they eat as they like since we are not allowed by the law to touch them. If we were given the permission, we could have shot some to scare them far away from human settlement, but we cannot do that as we will be locked up. Animals seem to be more important to the government than its citizens,” she said.

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JUST PROPAGANDA

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Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has refuted claims that she is under the radar of the Financial Intelligence Agency. Dr Venson-Moitoi who pulled out of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) presidential race at the eleventh hour, was last week reported to have had her accounts frozen because she was being investigated by FIA.

It was alleged that the freezing of the accounts would have a negative bearing on her campaign as she could not access her funds. Responding to enquiries on the issue during a media briefing in Kang Village, Dr Venson-Moitoi said the allegations were far from the truth.

According to the former cabinet minister, all her accounts were clean and she was accessing her funds without any challenge. “The person who was saying all those things was lying. My accounts are clean as we speak. I was never confronted by FIA or anyone. As far as I know I am not under any investigations,” she said.

Linked to that, it had emerged that Dr Venson-Moitoi’s campaign was being funded from outside the country especially by the some rich families in South Africa. Reports then suggested that her source of funding was blocked through the intervention of FIA, and that even her accounts were frozen. She dismissed the reports as propaganda that was perhaps spread to soil her campaign.

“I am clean. This is why I am never mentioned in missing funds from National Petroleum Fund or those of Capital Management Botswana,” said the Serowe South Member of Parliament. Last month Dr Venson-Moitoi had reported to the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Director General Peter Magosi that she was not happy that she is being followed around the country by security agents.

Magosi dismissed the claims on grounds that his organisation is not the only one that uses private motor vehicles.

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ARRESTED FOR RECKLESS DRIVING

Yvonne Mooka

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IN GOOD TIMES: The late Matlhogonolo with Simba in good times

Simba Mooketsi Mampori, 31, of Mbalambi allegedly killed his girlfriend in Bontleng, Gaborone and used her blood to scribble a message on the wall.

The message read, ‘Ke lapisitswe ke maaka’- translated to mean ‘I am tired of lies.’ Matlhogonolo Moshashu’s body was found inside his sister’s rented house in Bontleng.Mampori and Moshashu, 34, had a two year-old child together. Mampori allegedly killed her in March 31 by stabbing her with a screw driver, which was found inside the house. In an interview with The Midweek Sun this week, Otilia Kholiya, one of the tenants in the yard, said that she arrived on that fateful Sunday to find a yellow tape surrounding the yard with the police all over the place.

She said that she was the one who helped with cleaning. “He used her blood and wrote ‘Ke lapile ke maaka.’ I washed all the blood in the house by myself. Although police officers suspect that he used the screw driver they found in the house to kill her, I beg to differ. “That blood was just too much, it must have been something bigger,” she said, adding that they found a new dress that the deceased was going to wear to Mampori’s sister’s baby shower.

Another tenant Nicah Mandefu said that the house belonged to Mampori’s sister and that she rarely slept there and preferred her parents’place in Gaborone. She stated that she saw Mampori with his girlfriend arrive on Saturday around 4pm. “I don’t know him much because the house belongs to his sister. He probably just needed it for the weekend to spend time with his girlfriend who was staying and working outside Gaborone.

“They just greeted me and another tenant as we were sitting in front of our house. They stayed for 30 minutes and left. They would come again around 7pm,” she said. Mandefu said it was the first time she saw the deceased.

Murder
Mandefu said that Mampori’s sister arrived on Sunday around 9am, found her house locked and asked about his whereabouts. “She then told me that the lady he was with was actually his girlfriend and mother of his child,” she said. After some time, the sister returned to tell them that she received a report to say Mampori was found in Mmankgodi where he had tried to hang himself on a tree after killing Mashashu.

Upon failing to kill himself, he drove off recklessly at high speed, thus catching the attention of the police who stopped and charged him with reckless driving. “The police then noticed that he was not well as he had bruises from trying to kill himself. He could not even speak to the police but wrote down his mother’s phone number and gave them the keys to the sister’s house.

“They then took him to Thamaga Primary Hospital to be attended for his wounds on the neck, and later the police called his family and finally drove together to Bontleng where they found his girlfriend dead inside the sister’s house,” the neighbour tenant narrated to The Midweek Sun.

Serial killer
According to Botswana Police Service Deputy Public Relations Senior Superintendent Near Bagali, Mampori is also linked to another murder that occurred on 26 March in Gaborone in which a 39-year old woman from Molepolole was found with stab wounds.

At the time of his arrest, Mampori was awaiting trial for two murder cases committed in Mahalapye and Gaborone in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The deceased were his girlfriends. He was arraigned before Extension 2 Magistrate Court last Wednesday. He is incarcerated and expected back in court on April 17.

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