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Armed robbers hit Maseru supermarket

MASERU — Four unidentified gunmen exchanged fire with security guards, the police and soldiers before getting away with M15 000 in cash from a supermarket in Lekhaloaneng in Maseru on Tuesday night.

The criminals also took away airtime coupons of an undisclosed value.

The armed robbers seized two pump-action rifles from the guards.

A security guard who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Sunday Express that the gunmen entered the Lekhaloaneng Spar Supermarket disguised as customers.

Once inside they pointed their guns at the guards who were near the cash box while another robber stood at the door covering for armed response from outside.

“I started shooting at the one who was on the door and he returned fire,” he said.

The guard said he did not know what had happened to the guards who were in the shop.

He said guards from Security Lesotho company who were at a nearby shop came and tried to help.

Other guards came from a nearby hostel where Limkokwing University students live.

A member of the Lesotho Defence Force who was passing by also joined them.

“The soldier fired until he was out of bullets,” the guard said.

“There was a traffic jam because we were shooting from the road.”

He said a truck full of soldiers arrived. Armed police also came, the guard said.

“I saw the gunman who was at the door running away at that time and was followed by others. They disappeared into the darkness.”

The guard said the attackers were not found.

An eyewitness who talked to this paper said one of the attackers was wearing a letlama blanket under which he had two AK47 assault rifles.

Inspector Pheello Mphana said the criminals got away in a Toyota Corolla vehicle.

When the Sunday Express crew arrived at the crime scene, there was a traffic jam and the road was full of heavily armed soldiers and the police.

A blue taxi caught in the milieu had its rear windscreen broken with pieces of glass scattered on the tarmac.

Security Lesotho’s operations manager, Teboho Moleko, said if his men had proper guns they could have prevented the theft.

“The criminals had 9mm pistols while we used pump-action rifles and they already had an upper hand,” Moleko said.

“We need proper guns especially when we fight criminals who were previously in the army or in the police force.”

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