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BREAKTHROUGH Botswana police complete first DNA process to identify ZCC bus crash victims

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Botswana Police Service DNA Forensic Scientists have completed the collection of blood samples for analysis of the victims of the devastating bus accident that claimed the lives of 45 pilgrims from Molepolole.

This comes after Commissioner of Police Dinah Marathe assured the public that the Botswana Police Service was actively collaborating with South African authorities to identify the victims of the accident that happened on Thursday in Mamatlakala, Limpopo Province, South Africa when a bus carrying members of the ZCC fell 50 metres off a bridge, killing the 45 people who were on a pilgrimage for Easter religious rituals in Moria.

According to Botswana Police Service spokesperson Senior Superintendent Near Bagali, the DNA sample analysis is part of the joint forensic science investigations process Botswana and South African Police Services are undertaking to help identify the disaster victims.

Commissioner Marathe added that their collaboration with their South African counterparts was also meant to facilitate the victims’ return to their families in Botswana. She acknowledged the emotional and sensitive nature of this task, emphasizing the need for time and care to ensure accurate identification and repatriation.

Added Superintendent Bagali: “Given its complexity, the identification process is expected to take time to conclude.”

Families and relatives of the victims were recently gathered in Molepolole where their blood samples were taken as part of the identification process. At the moment, the affected families have made peace with the loss of their respective relatives but now await the process to determine which remains go to which family as the victims were burnt beyond recognition.

Minister of Defence and Security Kagiso Mmusi reiterated Marathe’s words in asking for patience, also confirming the two governments were working together to repatriate the bodies. When addressing members of the St Engenas church in Molepolole, Mmusi said: “Please bear with us as this is not an easy process and  it may be lengthy. Be patient because we are currently engaging with the South African government to assist us in this process, and we are sure they will as they understand the situation we are in. We will ensure that the bodies are repatriated to give the victims proper burial.”

President Mokgweetsi Masisi has since extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, urging all Batswana to come together in prayer and solidarity during this difficult time. He emphasized the importance of unity and support for those affected, calling on all Christians to pray for healing and closure.

In light of this tragedy, President Masisi has also issued a cautionary reminder for all citizens to remain vigilant and cautious, especially as travel on roads increases during the remainder of the holiday period.

Senior government officials, including Member of Molepolole South, Honourable Kabo Morwaeng, convened a press conference in Molepolole to convey the government’s condolences and outline plans for repatriating the deceased’s bodies from South Africa. Honourable Morwaeng, representing the President, expressed solidarity with the affected church and emphasized that the entire nation stands together in this time of sorrow.

 

 

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