Mob attacks man for  neglecting sickly wife

Mob attacks man for neglecting sickly wife

MASERU – POLICE dispersed an angry mob of Ha Thetsane villagers who tried to kill a man they accused of neglecting his gravely sick wife until she died.
The mob descended on Tšeliso Sehlabo’s house last Friday, a few hours after his wife Relebohile Ramokatsa had died.

The villagers were baying for blood as they surrounded Sehlabo’s house while burning old tyres in the yard. Some said they wanted to drag Sehlabo from the house and burn him. Others were pelting the house with stones.
The Thetsane police escorted the shocked Sehlabo and his elderly mother to a safe house.

Sehlabo told thepost that his wife succumbed to a long illness.
“It is true that we had some disagreements here and there but I never killed her,” Sehlabo said.
But the irate villagers said Relebohile would not have died if Sehlabo was taking good care of her.

“Tšeliso Sehlabo is the one responsible for the death of his wife,” said a visibly annoyed villager who requested anonymity.
Some villagers admit that Relebohile was visibly sick but insist that she would have recovered if her husband had not ill-treated her.

One villager said Relebohile went to her maiden home in Quthing in 2014 because she was very sick and there was nobody taking care of her.
She only came back to Sehlabo last October.
The villagers said Sehlabo would leave her alone in the house and disappear for days.

They said Relebohile told neighbours that she slept on a bench because her husband refused to share a bed with her.
They said during some days she was sleeping outside the house because her husband locked her out.

On some occasions, they say, Sehlabo threw out her clothes.
“She would sleep outside the house on some days,” a villager said.
“She would sometimes be without food,” another said.
They also said a few weeks before she died, Relebohile and her husband had a fight and he set dogs on her.

They said the dogs bit her so much that she had to see a doctor.
“Her death comes at a time when she was waiting for the courts to hear her case in which she was claiming the house her husband chased her from,” a villager said.

The court, they said, had issued a temporary order giving Relebohile access to the house pending finalisation of their matter.
After returning to her house Relebohile is said to have never recovered from her illness and it was during this time when she reported to neighbours that her husband had taken the bed away and she was sleeping on the floor.

Villagers also said Relebohile reported that her husband took away the stove she was using so that she could not cook.
Sehlabo also allegedly locked the toilet.
“Her life was very difficult,” a villager said.

Relebohile, they said, was just waiting for the court’s verdict in her dispute with her husband so that they could share the house equally or sell it so that they share the money.
“She said she had contributed a lot in its building,” a villager said.
“That is why we as the villagers insist that this man has killed his wife, he did not love her,” a woman in the crowd said.

Sehlabo has denied the allegations.
“I arrived late at my home on Friday and I found my wife on the floor,” Sehlabo said.
“It looked as if she had fallen there some hours earlier, so I called people so that they could help me.”
“They told me she was no longer alive and I went to the police station to report.”

“But even before that, people were already surrounding my house and insulting me, saying I had killed my wife.”
The mob did not leave when the police left with the corpse but burned the tyres outside Sehlabo’s house, throwing stones while insulting him.

The angry mob demanded that Sehlabo should be banished from their village. They said they feared that he would marry another woman from their village and ill-treat her.
Sehlabo called the police who came and ordered the people to put off the fire around the house and disperse.

The police then took away Sehlabo and his mother.
After they left, some villagers broke into the house and looted property.
“Even this week they have taken the water tap in my garden,” Sehlabo said.
Asked why he set dogs on his wife, Sehlabo said she had decided to come back to him without consulting his mother.

Police spokesman, Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli, said the man has since appeared before the Maseru Magistrate’s court charged with murder.
He said he has been remanded.

Thooe Ramolibeli

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