MASERU — One of the two men attacked by members of a faction in the Methodist Church of Lesotho last Sunday says he is fortunate to be alive.
Phakiso Lebona, 68, is now recovering at his Naledi home.
He said he could not believe that the faction led by Reverend Daniel Senkhane, the former head of the church, could be “so brutal”.
Lebona, an elder in the church, was attacked together with Steven Mapheelle.
The fight was over the use of a hall at Methodist High School in Khubetsoana.
The two belong to a “faction” led by Reverend Daniel Rantle who is the current head of the Methodist Church of Lesotho.
Lebona said they had been sent by Rantle to inform other church members about a decision to stop using the hall after the factions had clashed on January 10.
Lebona suffered four deep cuts on the head.
He said he was in pain and struggling to walk without support.
“We had only gone to the school to tell our members that the service was at Maseru Methodist society but we were almost killed,” Lebona said.
He said they found Senkhane already at the hall and preparing for a service.
They asked him to accompany them to the school gate to inform people about the decision to stop using the hall until the matter had been resolved.
Lebona said while they were trying to explain the decision, some members of Senkhane’s faction jumped over the gate and attacked them.
“Ntate Mapheelle was hit from behind with a stick,” he said.
“They were hitting him with sticks and stones.
“Someone hit me on the back with a hammer as I was trying to protect Ntate Mapheelle from the blows.
“I fell on the fence and then they started hitting me.
“I fell over the fence. I tried to stand but they continued hitting until I fell into a furrow.”
Lebona said the beating continued even when he was still in the furrow.
“They were beating me with sticks and stones,” he said.
“My face was covered with blood and I could not see anything.”
He said the beating only stopped after some villagers intervened.
“That is how I escaped but I did not know where my colleague was because these people were divided into two groups when they were attacking us,” he said.
Lebona said Mapheelle later arrived and told him that he had asked someone at a nearby shop to call the police.
“We were beaten by both men and women of that faction,” he said.
“As I was sitting there (at the shop) one woman from those people who attacked us came with her son and volunteered to take me to hospital.
“I had suffered bad injuries.
“I could not even walk properly and I needed support from other people to walk.”