An encounter with buffalo, which left the North West District Council Chairman, Kebareeditse Ntsogotho, hospitalised for weeks after sustaining serious injuries has come back to haunt him as the police are investigating him for poaching.
Ntsogotho was during the week released from Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital in Francistown where he has been hospitalised for almost three weeks after he was mysteriously attacked by a buffalo in Khwai on May 10th. On the day of the incident the councillor was rushed to Letsholathebe Memorial Hospital in Maun but later referred to Francistown. He sustained injuries to his thigh. Ntsogotho confirmed to The Patriot on Sunday that he has been questioned by Maun police for suspected poaching of the same animal that attacked him, in what he believes is an attempt to tarnish his name. The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Councillor for Khwai/Mababe area however decries the case as a politically-fuelled witch hunt by his rivals whom he believes are determined to destroy his political image and send him to jail over false accusations.
While details surrounding the incident are still sketchy this publication has however learnt that police in Maun are investigating the matter as a poaching incident. Even though District No5 Officer Commanding Senior Superintendent, Peter Gochela is refusing to comment on the matter reports indicate that his junior officers have already arrested and questioned other suspects. “I cannot allow a telephonic interview especially on such an issue which involves bagolo, if it was a simple case that one yes I could have helped you but not this one,” Gochela refused.
Maun Regional Wildlife Coordinator, Dimakatso Ntshebe could also not comment on the matter referring this publication back to Gochela. “The case was not reported to us but we did pick it on social media and followed it up. We thereafter handed over all the investigations to police so they are right people to shed light on the matter,” Ntshebe said.
Meanwhile Ntsogotho says he is yet to hear from the police as to whether they are opening a poaching case against him or not. The councillor also did not want to further discuss the matter with the press to give police chance to first complete their investigations, but stressed that he did nothing wrong. “Police feel that the incident was poaching but that is not the case. I have tried to explain to them everything from beginning to end,” Ntsogotho told this publication.
“People were harassed by a buffalo whilst fishing, they then shot the animal and called us to come help because the animal was moving towards the side of the village so they feared that it was going to endanger the public. So we went to the place but unfortunately I got injured,” Ntsogotho explained his side of the story.
Ntsogotho says he is aware of political pressure that is being put on police officers handling the matter for them to do everything they could so that he is arrested and sent to jail over the incident. The pressure is coming from top officials and also within the region, he said. “My lawyer is ready to take up the issue because he knows what is going on, he knows the gravity of this issue, he knows that it is being spearheaded by politicians so we are ready to take up anything that comes our way.”
The outspoken councillor argued that he is not the first person to be injured by a wild animal in his area but because he is a politician his rivals want use this against him. He argued that they are living in a wildlife invested area so such incidents people being attacked by wild animals are prevalent. Furthermore, the councillor pointed that he is conservationist arguing that hunting a buffalo is totally against his practices. “I am a conservationist to the core,I do not hunt wild animals. As I speak I have a little camp which I have just completed in March this year, the camp is there to bring tourists whose interest is to come and see such wild animals, so why would I have to go out and hunt the same animal that I want to conserve for tourism purposes,” the councillor fumed.