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AU condemns Motšomotšo assassination


’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE African Union (AU) Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has condemned the recent killing of the Lesotho Defence Force Army Commander Khoantle Mot?omot?o, saying the “barbarous act” had potentially destabilising consequences on the peace that Lesotho enjoyed after the 3 June 2017 elections.

Lt-Gen Motšomotšo was shot dead at Ratjomose Barracks on Tuesday morning by Brigadier Bulane Sechele who was accompanied by Colonel Tefo Hashatsi.

The duo also died in the gun battle.

In his statement issued on Friday, Mr Mahamat extended his condolences to the family of the deceased, the government and the people of Lesotho.

He said it was worrying that the “gruesome incident takes place hardly two years after the assassination of Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao in June 2015”.

Lt-Gen Mahao was fatally shot by his colleagues on 25 June 2015 just outside Maseru. The Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) subsequently announced Lt-Gen Mahao was resisting arrest when he was killed, which the family has dismissed as untrue.

The Mahao family accused the army of killing him in cold blood basing on the account of his nephews who were with him during the incident.

After the killing, the-then Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili asked SADC to help establish the circumstances surrounding the incident, resulting in a Commission of Inquiry led by Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi of Botswana.

The 10-member commission carried out its investigations between 31 August and 23 October 2015 and recommended, among other things, that government should investigate the killing and prosecute those found to be responsible.

It also recommended that then LDF commander Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli be relieved of his duties “in the interest of restoring trust and acceptance of the LDF to the Basotho nation”.

Lt-Gen Kamoli was eventually retired in December 2016.

SADC also recommended the implementation of a raft of security sector, administrative and governance reforms designed to achieve lasting stability in Lesotho.

Mr Mahamat said in addition to investigating Lt-Gen Motšomotšo’s killing, SDAC should immediately engage the government of Lesotho to “explore ways and means of resolving outstanding issues, including but not limited” to the implementation of the SADC recommendations for reforms.





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