SEHLABENG — The devastating news was broken around 4 pm on Tuesday.
‘Mamots’oane Motsamai was winding up her shift at a factory in the Thetsane industrial area when she received a call saying her mother, 76, had been murdered.
‘Makhauta Martien’s cold body was discovered lying in a pool of blood in her room on Tuesday morning by one of the men she had contracted to build a new house on her homestead in Phuthalichaba, a tiny Sehlabeng village in Berea district.
The village is situated 10km north of Maseru.
Eyewitnesses say her throat was slit and it is suspected that she was raped before she was murdered.
Motsamai immediately rushed to her mother’s home but by the time she arrived there her body had already been ferried to the mortuary.
Only the pool of blood in which her mother had lied remained.
Motsamai is still devastated.
Burial arrangements are being made but Motsamai still cannot believe her mother is gone.
She wants answers.
Who could have been so angered by a lonely old woman to justify such a gruesome murder?
Why would they do that?
What wrong had she done?
Motsamai, Martien’s eldest daughter, wants answers to these questions but police are not yet close to solving the case.
Police say they are still investigating and no suspect has been arrested as yet.
“I am wondering who could have done it because I believed she was a mature woman who was not involved in village fights,” Motsamai says, her words lumbered with grief.
“It looks like she was pulled from her mattress as some of the blankets were shifted towards the side where she was found lying.
“It is suspected she was first raped before her throat was slit.”
She says Martien’s wallet is the only thing missing in the house.
Motsamai says her mother was a pensioner so the murderer could have known that she had some money.
As she narrates the story tears start welling her eyes.
She tries hard to hold back the tears but to no avail.
Martien’s murder has also left Phuthalichaba villagers shocked.
Phuthalichaba’s chief, Thunts’ane Khofa, describes Martien’s death as “heart-breaking”.
“The man who killed this woman is hard-hearted and I will do everything in my power to hunt him down,” he says.
Chief Khofa says he had met Martien two days before her death.
“The poor woman was slaughtered just like an animal,” he says.
“I have never seen such a heart-breaking incident before.”
The chief says he is particularly shocked because this is the first time that someone has been murdered in the village.
Housebreaking and stock theft are the major criminal cases in the village.
Chief Khofa is planning to convene a village meeting today to discuss the issue.