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Bombing ‘memories’ up in smoke

SX 09Keiso Mohloboli

MASERU — Monday’s grenade attack of an All Basotho Convention (ABC) activist Liabiloe Ramoholi and injuries suffered by her children have left her eternally wounded.

Sunday Express reporter Keiso Mohloboli witnessed on Friday afternoon Ramoholi burning to ashes blood-soaked furniture and bedding that once adorned her children’s bedroom in a clear attempt to, as she put it, “forget about the events of that night”.

As if that was not enough, a still traumatised Ramoholi also burnt carpets and some of her own bedding as they were also soaked in blood from her children as they crawled into her bedroom for safety after the bomb attack.

“I had to burn them primarily because they are a reminder of what my family and I had to endure that night and also because they could not be used anymore,” Ramoholi said.

Ramoholi said she only had to wait for the forensic investigative teams of the Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) working in collaboration with the South African Police Service (SAPS) to complete their assessment of the scene of the violent attack before burning the reminders
of her ordeal.

“Everything that I burned was badly bloodstained and I hate stains, especially from blood, that is why I got rid of everything with blood on it,” Ramoholi said.

She said the sheets were horrifying because “I used them to bandage my children’s wounds that oozed a lot of blood”.

Ramoholi also said she had to leave the two bedrooms unclean to allow the forensic teams to gather all the evidence needed for police investigations.

The SAPS forensic team arrived on Thursday and worked on the scene through Friday afternoon, alternating between Ramoholi’s home and that of Commissioner of Police Khothatso Tšooana which was also attacked on the same day and in a similar manner.

After burning the items, Ramoholi said it felt like a load had been lifted off her shoulders but that it was only momentary because the discharge of two of her three injured children from hospital conjured up the sad memories.

“It was a very painful moment for me when I welcomed my two children back from the hospital as it brought back all the memories of the day they got injured,”Ramoholi said.

“My heart just beefed up with anger and confusion from all the memories.”
Ramoholi’s 11 year-old son and the 15-year-old orphan she is raising were discharged from hospital on Friday afternoon.

Speaking to this paper from Moshoeshoe II, Ramoholi’s son, both his thigh and leg in bandages, was smiling from ear to ear, saying he was happy to be back from hospital.

However, his innocent smile disappeared momentarily as he told us that while in hospital “all I wanted to see was what my bedroom looked like”.

“I was eager to see the damage in my bedroom because I never got a chance to see it,” he said.
Asked what came to his mind that night when he heard the deafening sound, the boy said since it was raining on the night he thought their room had been hit by lightning.

“Since it was rainy when we slept that day, my mind told me the sound of the bomb was of lightning and that our room had been hit,” the boy said.

The boy also said he was not happy that his mother’s house was attacked adding “only if I knew the perpetrators I would beat them up myself”.

With tears clouding his eyes, the boy also told this paper that he was filled with revenge and that “I will settle the score with them or on their children one day when I am old”.

The 15-year old on the other hand, said she was thankful that God protected them from the heinous attack that might have “taken our lives”.

“We are only children and we did not deserve to be hurt and injured like this,” the young girl said.
Resting on her back on a sofa in the living room, she said she wanted the perpetrators arrested because they injured them without cause.

“I want them to go to prison and even be sentenced to death if possible,” she said.
She added, “It is painful to sit at home recovering while the school calendar and syllabus are passing us by.”

Meanwhile, this paper also learnt that immediately after Ramoholi had burnt the items, a local businessperson volunteered to replace the furniture and delivered it on the spot.

Ramoholi confirmed the new but declined to reveal the businessperson’s identity.
“Yes it is true that a local businessperson replaced the furniture that I’ve just burnt but he does not want his identity to be made public,” Ramoholi said.

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