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Zimbabweans forced to masturbate, have sex by Botswana troopers



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By Staff Reporter

FIVE soldiers from the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) and two police officers have appeared in court charged with forcing a group of illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe to have group sex and masturbate while the officers watched and cheered.

The Zimbabwean group of three women and four men, all rounded up by the soldiers patrolling the Botswana/Zimbabwe border, were also forced to expose their sexual organs.

The five soldiers Samuel Seshabo, 21, Pako Tlhabaki, 23, Thato Bojosi, 24, Moagi Samson, 28 and Koziba Balopi, 25, all of them based at the Sir Seretse Khama Barracks, deny the charges.

They are charged jointly with special constables Sydney Ntope, 28, and Phetogo Ganakobo, 20, who are stationed in Ramotswa.

Prosecutors say the seven had been on night patrol in the Ramotswa area on November 25, 2005, when they seized the Zimbabweans before taking them to the home of one Ipelegeng Moatlhodi, in the Lesetlhana ward in Ramotswa.

In evidence before a Botswana court this week, witness Willies Mbwanda told how he was ordered to unzip his pants and was shown by one of the troopers how to masturbate. He, however, failed to reach orgasm.

He told the court: "I could not reach sexual gratification because it was forced and they were assaulting me at the same time.

"They, however, did not take it kindly and took us onto their van to an unknown area (Moatlhodi's residence) where we found other Zimbabwean ladies."

Once there, according to Mbwanda's testimony reproduced in the Midweek Sun newspaper, the men were allocated rooms and each served with a naked woman while the officers watched.

The women -- identified in court papers as Tafadzwa Masaisai, Sarai Sibanda and Pedzani Ranganai -- had been assaulted and were told to lie down with their legs spread apart, Mbwanda testified.

Mbwanda said while in the room, the lady he had been paired with managed to escape. One of the soldiers, he said, then beat him up with a sjambok.

"The lady managed to escape and ran towards the police station while we (Mbwanda and other Zimbabweans) followed, and the officers too left the scene," he said.

In evidence, Mbwanda also identified Phetogo Ganakobo as the officer who forced him to masturbate.

The soldiers and the two special constables have been charged with unlawfully and indecently assaulting one male, Ramusi Chigudu, and a female, Sarai Sibanda, by forcing the two to undress, remain naked and at the same time trying to coerce them to have sexual intercourse in their presence.

The seven are also accused of indecently assaulting males Brighton Mapokotera, Willies Mbwanda and Cornelious Mhosva by forcing them to show their sexual organs and masturbate in their presence.

The third count is that the seven troopers assaulted females, Tafadzwa Masaisai and Pedzani Ranganai, by forcing them to undress, remain naked and at the same time trying to coerce the two to have sexual intercourse with males Willies Mbwanda and Cornelious Mhosva in their presence.

The case continues.

The treatment of Zimbabwean immigrants by authorities in Botswana has almost resulted in diplomatic incidents in the past. Zimbabwe's former state security Minister Nicholas Goche once protested at the flogging of petty criminals from Zimbabwe, which is lawful under that country's laws.

Goche said four days of talks with Botswana's home affairs minister had failed to yield an agreement to halt the floggings.

Goche described flogging as "primitive and unruly" and said "Botswana should move with the times" and abolish it.

Botswana, however, says that its borders are being overrun by Zimbabweans fleeing the country's economic collapse and will use all legal means to identify, punish and deport the immigrants.
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