MASERU — Four men from Mahloenyeng appeared in the High Court on Wednesday to answer a charge of murder.
The four are accused of tying Tanki Morolong to a tree and assaulting him with sticks until he died.
This was after they had accused him of breaking into a bar on April 3, 2007.
Ntholeng Keketsi, 45, Mabina Mabina, 48, Kelebone Mokone, 27 and Motseki Sutha, 20, pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.
A crown witness, Leutsoa Sutha, told High Court judge Justice Lisebo Chaka-Makhooane that the deceased was tied to a tree and assaulted.
Sutha told the court how Keketsi, who was employed as a night watchman at a local tavern, assaulted Morolong before tying him to a tree with the help of the other three accused.
He said the tavern’s owner, ‘Makhotso, who is her neighbour, called for help at around 1am on April 3, 2007.
He said the neighbour later told him that there had been a break-in at her shop.
“We went to the shop, which is in the same yard with the house and found that there had been a break-in and there was a hole on the shop window,” Sutha said.
He said he was in the company of other villagers.
He said while they were standing at the shop Keketsi, the guard, arrived together with other villagers.
Sutha said he then saw a man who he later identified as Morolong entering the gate towards them.
According to Sutha, Keketsi asked Morolong who he was and what he was doing there.
“He (the deceased) said he came to the shop after he heard some noise and thought it was a drinking place,” Sutha told the court.
“Keketsi then turned on Morolong and accused him of committing the crime.
He began assaulting him with an iron bar, he said.
“We tried to stop him from assaulting the deceased, but he ignored us,” he said.
With the assistance of the three other accused, “they took him to a tree and tied him on both hands with a leather strap with his heels slightly touching the ground,” Sutha said.
“We tried to talk to them but they ignored us and continued assaulting him,” he said.
Sutha told the court that he saw Keketsi holding something that looked like a sword while the other three were holding sticks.
He added that he only learnt the following morning that Morolong had died.
The trial continues.