A case in which a Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Lance Corporal is accused of causing a fire that gutted a 25-men barracks at the Maun base camp which resulted to the death of another soldier awaits committal to the high court.
The 30-year-old Thabang Kgolagano is facing two counts of arson and that of murder, where he is alleged to have caused the death of one Victor Watlala after he reportedly torched an accommodation block at the barracks in Maun.
Kgolagano whose plea has been reserved is suspected to have intentionally and unlawfully set on fire the residential houses on September 8th in 2021 around midnight and consequently caused the death of 43-year-old Watlala who was also a lance corporal at the Maun BDF camp.
It is alleged that the accused person had a misunderstanding with his colleague outside base and the fracas continued when inside the base. It is alleged that Kgolagano then tried to torch his colleague’s apartment but the fire spread to other rooms in the block, burning the entire 25 men barracks with most properties inside reduced to ashes.
Giving status update before the Maun Chief Magistrate Thebeetsile Mulalu, state prosecution revealed that investigations on the matter were yet to be completed.
The court was also informed that the matter is now awaiting committal to the high court for trial. The accused person was on the 21st October 2021 granted a P2500 bail with P2 500 and two sureties at a P2 500 fee each. He was also ordered not to interfere with state witnesses.
During bail arguments previously, Kgolagano’s defence attorney, Andrew Johannes argued that the accused person was eligible for bail as he would not temper with evidence if granted bail. He stressed that some of the witnesses who were not there at the time of the incident do not have much impact that contributes to the matter since they will share information relating their properties lost during the fire.
State prosecutor Khani Khani had objected to the accused person’s bail application indicating that investigations on the matter were at an initial stage and that the state needed time to complete counselling for some of the staff members who resided in the 25 men block that was burnt.
“Out of the 25 men affected, we have only enrolled 7 of them for counselling, logistics of the remaining are being worked on as the mentioned are out of Maun on official trips across the country,” Khani told court.
The accused will appear in court for status update on the 9th March next year.