A village chief has appealed for calm after a gruesome murder and suicide threatened to disrupt the peace as grieving families prepare to bury their dead. Kgosi Balemetse Bailaphuti has asked the families to bury the young victims, both from the small village of Semotswanae north of Francistown, in adjourning graves on the same day this weekend in a bid to reconcile troubled relatives.
“I was afraid the deaths of these two young people would divide the villagers. I wanted to avoid families chasing each other with axes and have more dead bodies. Together with the councillor, social worker and village development chairman I approached both families to make peace.
“This week villagers have been holding prayers alternating at both homesteads. This evening the prayers will first be held at the girl’s place before moving on to the boy’s family,” the village leader said in an interview on Wednesday.
He added: “There is no need for the parents of these two children to be at each other’s throat or to be finger pointing one another when the two people who know why they were fighting are gone.”
The chief confirmed that 22-year-old Reabonne Matlhabe was last seen with her boyfriend Bornwell Sebele, 20, at month-end after the couple were involved in a public row at one of the bars in the village.
“On that night the boy is said to have beaten up his girlfriend before dragging her in front of other drinkers at the bar. None of the people at the bar dared interfere because the young man was known to be a violent person who would fight anyone who tried to interfere,” said the kgosi.
Reabonne’s charred remains were later identified after they were found in a pit latrine at her boyfriend’s house. The body had been chopped into pieces and forced down the latrine, doused with petrol and then set alight along with old tyres in a bid to destroy the evidence.
Bornwell was later found hanging near his home, the kgosi revealed. Confirming the incident Tonota police station commander Superintendent Reuben Mphoeng said: “The two were actually related in the sense that they had a child together. We got to know about the missing lady after were got a report from the girl’s parents. She had abandoned her child who was still being breastfed.”
The Superintendent went on to reveal that Bornwell had committed suicide before officers could question him over his girlfriend’s disappearance. The deceased, who was said to a conductor for one of the commuter buses that plied between Semotswanae and Francistown, was found hanging in the early hours of Thursday morning.