Lesotho's military seizes control of police headquarters

The sports minister and leader of the Basotho National Party has insisted Prime Minister Tom Thabane's government was still in control.  (AFP)

The sports minister and leader of the Basotho National Party has insisted Prime Minister Tom Thabane's government was still in control. (AFP)

Lesotho’s military seized control of the country’s police headquarters and jammed radio stations and phones in the early hours on Saturday, a government minister and member of the ruling coalition told Agence France-Presse.

“The armed forces, the special forces of Lesotho, have taken the headquarters of the police,” sports minister and leader of the Basotho National Party Thesele Maseribane said, describing a possible coup attempt in the small nation located in eastern South Africa. “At four o’clock this morning [0200GMT] they were driving around the residence of the prime minister and my residence,” he said. “There have been some gunfighting since four [am] up until seven or eight.

“They’ve jammed phones, they have jammed everything,” he added. Maseribane said he fled hours earlier after being warned. “The commander said he was looking for me, the prime minister and the deputy minster to take us to the king. In our country that means a coup,” he added. 

He insisted Prime Minister Tom Thabane’s government was still in control. “The prime minister and myself, [we are] still the coalition government. The prime minister is still in power.” Thabane was “fine”, he added, declining to elaborate where the prime minister was. 

“There’s still a lot of danger. People who have arms are running around Maseru.” The government secretary was unreachable for comment. A shaky coalition has governed the kingdom, which is entirely surrounded by South Africa, since elections two years ago. Coalition partners patched up the fragile deal through mediators in June. – AFP

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