MASERU — A Qacha’s Nek man is lucky to be alive after villagers who had had enough of his “mischief” turned on him and broke his limbs in a fit of rage. The District Police Commissioner, Senior Superintendent Moshe Raleting, told the Sunday Express that two of the man’s accomplices, all from Leseling village, were also beaten up and were later hospitalised at Machabeng Hospital.
One of the two, who sustained more serious injuries, was later transferred to an undisclosed hospital in Maseru. Raleting said the trio was part of a group of young men who had terrorised villagers with illegal firearms. “We heard that this group felt they had an upper hand and disrespected the chief and other villagers because they had illegal firearms in their possession. They were now out of control,” Raleting said.
Tired of being intimidated by the group that was committing crimes, villagers planned a citizens’ arrest.
But Raleting said the villagers later decided to assault the men in revenge. “The two hospitalised men were the first ones to be battered by the villagers. Days later the third man was beaten to a pulp by the villagers,” he said.
“We got a call that the villagers had attacked people. They even thought the third man had died.” But when the police got to the village to abate the tension they found that the man had not died. However he said none of the villagers offered to take the man to hospital. He said the police then raided the village in search of illegal firearms but the culprits had fled.
The third man was wanted by the police in connection with possession of an illegal firearm. The police raided his village in November and December last year but could not recover the firearm after he allegedly hid it.
Scores of villagers were arrested and charged for illegal possession of firearms during the crackdown last year.
Raleting said they are facing a huge challenge of people who are in possession of illegal firearms.
He said most villagers get firearms in exchange for dagga. He said most of the illegal weapons are at the centre of violent crime in the district.