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202 graduate from LDF boot camp

’Marafaele Mohloboli

TWO hundred and two youths on Friday graduated from a life skills programme boot camp provided by the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) at Makoanyane Barracks in Maseru.

The graduation ceremony was officiated by army commander, Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela and was attended by his deputy Major General Matela Matobakele and the parents and guardians of the youths among others.

The boot camp started on 19 December 2021 and ended on 7 January 2022. The youths received physical training, patriotism teachings while they were also taught to have discipline, tolerance and leadership skills.

The boot camp was mooted on the back of a spate of violent attacks on the public by the infamous Manomoro (numbers) gangs across the country. Manomoro gangs is the name used to describe gangs of youth that terrorised communities in Koalabata, Naleli, Motimposo, Qoaling, Khubetsoana, Sekamaneng and Thetsane since early last year.

So bad had become the situation that the LDF stepped in and rounded up some of the errant youths who were committing violent crimes including murder, rape, housebreaking, theft and stabbings.

The LDF launched Operation Namola (intervene) last April to weed out the young but dangerous criminals, that were detained at the Makoanyane Barracks for an ongoing rehabilitation programme to get them to change their ways before they were reintegrated into society.

Addressing the youths and their parents on Friday, Lt-Gen Letsoela said the army was determined to ensure that the public lives freely and is protected at all times. He also implored schools to teach learners their history so that they know their roots.

“It is my wish to see everyone doing the right thing without waiting for the army to show up and place them back on track,” Lt-Gen Letsoela said.

“We are appealing to schools to teach the youth local history so that they get to know their roots.”

LDF’s Youth Development Leader, Captain Bokang Melato, said so committed was the LDF to instilling patriotism in the youths that it has postponed some of its programmes.

He said some of the youths end up involved in crimes because of the lack of strong family support structures.

“Some of the crimes they commit are caused by the gaps in their family set-ups, lack of interest in cultural practices and lack of patriotism. Our objective is to leave these youth in a better standard of living, physically, mentally and financially through the programmes we offered them to help them leave behind their life of crime,” Captain Melato said.

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