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Bed-ridden woman dies after being ‘raped’

‘Mantoetse Maama

MASERU — A bed-ridden woman was last Sunday found dead just a few hours after she was allegedly raped in Ha-Hoohlo, a Maseru village near Lesotho’s border with South Africa.
The 28-year-old woman — whose name we have withheld — was suffering from an undisclosed ailment that had seen her moving in with her aunt.
But as she lay recuperating in one of her aunt’s rooms, the woman was allegedly attacked by a man who is yet to be identified.
A suspect was arrested last Sunday but was released after interrogation, police spokesman Pheello Mphana said.
“The woman died on Sunday morning after telling her aunt that she had been raped on Saturday night,” Mphana told the Sunday Express.
“A suspect was arrested and interrogated after the incident but he was later released.”
The deceased’s aunt, Mamosialla Lemaoana, said she suspected a relative to be the culprit.
Lemaoana said her cousin had moved in with her last Wednesday because she could no longer take care of herself because of her illness.
“She had stayed with me for three days,” she told this paper.
“On Thursday she went to see a doctor at Queen II (hospital). She came back saying she had been asked to return on Friday for blood test.
“On Friday she told me she felt very weak and she could not even wake up from bed.
“I told her we would go on Monday.”
Lemaoana, who was selling home-brewed beer in her other room, said on Saturday her cousin was stable.
She said she did not know what she was suffering from.
“Her face was swollen and her tongue had a white coating,” she said.
“I was hoping after the test we would know what was wrong.
“I went to the other room to sell my beer and kept checking on her.
“Later that day she asked me to lock the room because she didn’t want people coming in while she was sleeping.”
Lemaoana said she locked the door and went back to her business.
She said after closing business at 22.30pm she decided to sleep in the room where she was selling beer.
“I decided to sleep in that room because I did not want to disturb her,” Lemaoana said.
“I woke up at 5am and went to check on her and I found the padlock broken but it did not think that someone had broken in.
“I found her awake and greeted her.
“She told me she was fine but her heart was broken.
“Then she started crying.
“I asked what was bothering her but she did not answer me.
“She continued crying.
“I went out to clean the toilet and when I came back she did not say anything.”
Lemaoana said she went to the other room, but was called back some minutes later.
“My boyfriend, Ntsane Ntsoare, told me that my cousin wanted to see me and I was surprised because she had not wanted to talk to me earlier on,” she said.
“When I came in she said: ‘Aunt I have been raped.’”
Lemaoana said her cousin said she could not remember the name of the person who had raped her but she could identify the rapist.
“She told me it was a man I had introduced her to,” Lemaoana said.
“He was our relative from Mafeteng.
“I was shocked and I waited for him because I knew he visited me almost every day but he did not come that day.
“I helped her bath and when I was bathing her I saw that she had semen on her thighs.
“I did not know that if someone had been raped she should not bath because that could wipe out evidence.
“I just wanted her to be clean so that when visitors came she would be presentable.”
Lemaoana said she left her cousin only to find her “sleeping” a while later when she returned.
“I tried to wake her but she just kept quiet and      her mouth was closed in an awkward way,” she said.
Lemaoana said she asked neighbours to check if she was still alive. She was dead.
Mphana said the police were investigating the case and still waiting for post-mortem results.

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