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Famo man jailed for plotting to kill rival

Staff Reporter


MASERU — A 35-year-old Mafeteng man, Lira Morienyane, was on Tuesday slapped with a two-year jail term after he was convicted for conspiring to commit murder in yet another threat of violence within the famo music sector.

Morienyane, who is a member of the Terene gang, was found guilty of conspiring to kill a member of a rival famo gang, Tšokolo Lesiea, when he appeared in the Mafeteng Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

The crown said Morienyane wanted to commit the crime on July 31.

He was jointly charged with his friend, Monyobi Sebetiea, 27, who was however acquitted due to lack of evidence.

Morienyane and Sebetiea were arrested on their arrival in Lesotho from Bloemfontein in South Africa where they were temporarily based.

The Mafeteng police arrested the two and charged them with conspiring to murder Lesiea, a member of the Seakhi gang.

The crown said Morienyane was on his way to commit murder when the police arrested him near the main traffic circle in Mafeteng, following a tip-off.

The evidence before court stated that Morienyane was holding a Letlama blanket, which is worn by Seakhi members, as he pretended to be one of them.

Terene members are known for wearing yellow blanket with black drawings. The Terene blankets are either Seana-marena or Lefitori, which are valued brands among Basotho.

Magistrate Teboho Thoso expressed regret over the famo wars which claimed over 100 lives at the height of the clashes between 2009 and 2012 when the government coaxed the two sides to sign a peace pact.

Thoso said the government is doing its utmost to broker peace between the rival gangs.

He said it was a pity that some of their members seem hell-bent on continuing with their acts of barbarism.

The magistrate said the courts of law will continue to deliver harsh sentences against individuals who are bent on flouting the law.

He said the courts will continue to rescue people who are targets of violent gangsters.

The prosecutor was Michael Senatla.

This is the second known incident when individuals within the famo gangs have been arrested for conspiring to commit violent acts.

In April the Welkom police announced that a Mosotho man was abducted in the Free State, South Africa, while another was seriously assaulted by members of a famo music gang who are known for illegally mining gold in Welkom.

The police reported that the two Lesotho men, Thabiso Nkunyane and Motlalentoa Motlaopa, who are 27 and 25 years old respectively, were walking near Western Holdings No 1 Shaft when a group of men attacked them.

The police said the attack appeared to be a continuation of the war between the Seakhi, also known as Matlama, and Terene gangs.

At least a hundred people have died in the gang wars between Seakhi and Terene since the clashes began four years ago.

The coalition government last year facilitated talks between the gangs immediately after its formation in June last year.

The talks are led by the Minister in Prime Minister’s Office Molobeli Soulo and the Local Government Deputy Minister Selibe Mochoboroane.

The two groups signed a peace accord in Mafeteng and promised to stop the violence last year.

The Terene camp is led by prominent All Basotho Convention supporter, Rethabile Mokete, known in the famo music circles as Mosotho Chakela while the Seakhi group is led by Lehlohonolo Maketsi aka Mahlanya and Bereng Majoro aka Lekase who are linked to the Lesotho Congress for Democracy party.

Although the gangs signed a peace pact, they remain miles apart in their views on how to resolve the crisis, a situation that could see the peace efforts hitting a brick-wall.

There have been killings of followers of the groups despite peace efforts by the government in collaboration with the gang leaders.

Most murders are committed in Mafeteng, Lesotho’s southern district that has most famo musicians.

Mochoboroane, the LCD MP in Mafeteng’s Thabana-Morena constituency, has on several occasions appealed for peace.

On several times Mochoboroane went to Welkom to meet members of the warring groups in a bid to halt the fighting.

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