MASERU — Following Monday’s foiled and bloody attempted robbery in the Maseru city centre which featured a movie-style shoot-out between the soldiers and thieves, the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) has issued a statement of safety assurance.
LDF Commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli said that measures are in place to ensure that peace is maintained and all citizens are protected this festive season.
Kamoli told a media briefing at the LDF headquarters in Maseru on Friday that this week’s foiled robbery attempt was proof of the army’s commitment towards the public’s safety. He however expressed dismay at the fact that some members of the force had aided the heinous attempted crime.
“We were disappointed that two LDF members were part of the attempted robbery that occurred on Monday by giving information and weapons. One is a second lieutenant and another is a private,” Kamoli said.
On Monday, members of the LDF, in collaboration with the police, foiled an attempted robbery on a money transfer company. In the process, three foreign nationals (South Africans) were killed in a shoot-out with security agents.
Two members of the LDF were also arrested – an officer of the rank of private and a second lieutenant. About 10 more suspects are said to be still at large while police investigations continue.
“The second lieutenant who was involved was also responsible for keeping the armory and was still supposed to answer for some weapons that disappeared while he was on duty,” Kamoli said.
According to Kamoli, arresting fellow soldiers involved in criminal activity was an indication of the army’s commitment to the fight for the nation’s peace and security.
“Arresting members of LDF shows that we are against unlawful acts and if there are more members they will be arrested,” he said.
Kamoli meanwhile urged members of the society to bring forth information that would lead to the arrest of the suspects adding that anyone found to be in possession of illegal firearms would force the army to descend heavily upon them.
The army commander said some of the army’s notable success stories include recovery of livestock which was already in the hands of thieves in Ox-bow. In another incident a member of the army, together with members of Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) helped a business man to recover his money amounting to M27 000 that was already in the hands of robbers.
The army was also very instrumental in the arrest of two foreigners who were found in possession of counterfeit money amounting to millions.
Kamoli assured the public that members of the army would be highly visible throughout the festive season in order to discourage acts of violence and pleaded for cooperation from the people.
“It’s through public support that we managed to succeed in the said incidents, we therefore urge them to keep providing information that will ensure the safety of all,” Kamoli said.