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Army defends raid on Makoro

Boitumelo Koloi

The Lesotho Defence Force Public Relations Officer, Major Ntlele Ntoi said soldiers who raided the home of Retired Major General Sam Makoro on Friday morning were searching for weapons and military uniform.

Ntoi confirmed the raid on Makoro’s Ha-Matala Phase II residence, which left neighbours in shock and the Retired Major’s family traumatised.
“Yes, soldiers were sent to his residence to search for weapons, as well as military uniform. We had received news that he had been spotted at a political rally wearing our uniform,” Ntoi said.

Ntoi could not tell this paper why the search only had to be conducted five days after Makoro, who is now the Maseru District Administrator (DA), had allegedly been seen in military uniform.

But Makoro dismissed the claim that he could have been spotted wearing military gear since the law requires that anyone leaving the LDF should surrender every item of uniform belonging to the army.

“There is no way that I could have military uniform in my possession because the law requires that all military gear be handed in when you leave the force, and all the uniform is accordingly recorded to verify its handing in,” Makoro said.

The Sunday Express witnessed dozens of soldiers getting onto a big military truck soon after the operation, which took place at around 5 am.
Makoro said he had called several senior government officials, including Army Commander Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli to get clarification on what was happening.

“He (the LDF commander) did not pick my phone but I managed to speak to the Police Commissioner who was equally surprised by the raid,” he said.
Makoro yesterday said he had still not been officially told what the raid was all about, and was still weighing his options on what possible action to take.
He also said he did not understand what the army wanted from him.
“I have retired from the army and once you are out, you cannot come back, so why are they after me? I am a politician now and have no interest whatsoever in the army,” he said.

The DA served in the national army from 1981 until 2011, by which time he was the Deputy Commander.
He left the army just before Lieutenant-General Thuso Motanyane, the LDF commander of the day, retired in 2011.
Police spokesperson Lebona Mohloboli could not be drawn to comment about the incident, yesterday telling the Sunday Express: “I am not in a position to comment on that. The best-placed person to respond to your question is the army spokesperson.”

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