To enjoy the full Mail & Guardian online experience: please upgrade your browser
AmaBhungane Reporters, Keiso Mohloboli, Drew Forrest06 Oct 2016 09:43
Keiso Mohloboli, Drew ForrestPicture: Africa Centre, Flickr
A string of politically charged murders and armed attacks in Lesotho, many of them allegedly implicating the military, remain unresolved – some more than two years after they were perpetrated. In several cases, the victims were associated with the opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) or senior soldiers or police officers seen as linked to the political opposition.
ABC leader and former prime minister Tom Thabane fled Lesotho in May last year, with two other senior opposition leaders.
The violent deaths include that of former Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) commander Maaparankoe Mahao in an alleged ambush in June last year.
Mahao’s death is a key focus of the Southern African Development Community commission of inquiry aimed at stabilising Lesotho.
Less well known incidents include a bomb attack on the house of Thabane’s wife and the killing of a senior police officer at police headquarters during an alleged coup attempt in 2014.
There is a widespread perception in Lesotho that the perpetrators are still at large because the government is afraid to confront military chiefs, particularly the current LDF commander, Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli.
Kamoli was named by the SADC Commission of Inquiry as a “polarising character within the Lesotho Defence Force”.
Before his dismissal by the current government, former police commissioner Khothatso Tsooana complained that the LDF had refused to hand over suspects to the police.
Police have not taken statements from the Mahao family, including his two nephews who were in the car with him when he was shot. The family allege they have not been kept informed about the progress of the investigation into Mahao’s death.
Mahao’s older brother, Nqosa Mahao, told amaBhungane last week: “No, we have not heard from the police. Even when we write to them they don’t bother to respond.”
Police spokesperson Clifford Molefe said investigations into the various incidents are continuing but that no arrests have yet been made.
Attempts to obtain comment from the LDF were unsuccessful. LDF spokesperson Ntleli Ntoi declined to answer questions on the phone, while delivery of questions sent to an e-mail address he provided “failed permanently”.
The key unsolved incidents of violence are:
The amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism produced this story. Like it? Be an amaB supporter and help it do more. Sign up for its newsletter to get more.
Create Account | Lost Your Password?