TEN cases of drownings have been reported in different parts of the country in the aftermath of heavy rains experienced since October 2016.
Five others were reportedly rescued from a similar fate through swift action by the police life-saving unit.
Deputy police spokesperson Senior Inspector, Lerato Motseki confirmed the incidents, saying the police were still searching for the latest victim at Maqakali Dam who drowned last week.
“A 20-year-old ‘Mabathoana High School student, residing in Lithabaneng Ha Keiso, drowned on 19 January while swimming at Mejametalana Dam,” Senior Inspector Motseki said, adding “a 25-year-old Limkokwing University student also lost his life on 18 December at Maqakali Dam”.
She said there was also an incident of a man who threw himself into Katse Dam, while fleeing from police who sought to arrest him last month.
On Boxing Day last month, Senior Inspector Motseki said an unknown man drowned at a dam in Ntširele, Khubetsoana and they were appealing to family members to come forward to claim the body.
An eight-year-old boy drowned during a church baptism in a river in Butha-Buthe. A 15-year-old girl also drowned in a failed attempt to save the boy.
Senior Inspector Motseki also revealed that police rescued four people who escaped with minor injuries after their vehicle veered into the Maqakali Dam.
She said the police were concerned about the loss of lives and urged the public to desist from swimming in the dams and rivers as the water levels had increased due to the heavy rains.
“We have nothing against people practicing their religious beliefs but church leaders must adhere to warnings issued by the Lesotho Meteorological Services (LMS) on heavy rains to avoid putting people’s lives in danger.
“We are also aware that some people are forced to cross rivers to access services like healthcare and at times the rivers’ water levels rise while they are on the other side of the river. So we are advising them not to cross flooded rivers but seek accommodation where they will be or at the nearest police station,” she said.
She called on schools to cooperate with the police by enabling them to address learners on life-saving skills lessons, as it was evident that most of the drowning cases involved learners.
“It is better to give us one or two hours to address the students instead of asking us to come when there has been a tragedy,” she said.
She warned that pastors risked being charged with culpable homicide if the victim drowned during baptism.
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