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Judge orders return of stolen weapons to army


High Court judge Justice Thamsanqa Nomngcongo
High Court judge Justice Thamsanqa Nomngcongo

Tefo Tefo

HIGH Court judge, Justice Thamsanqa Nomngcongo, on Thursday ordered firearms used by mercenaries in the attempted assassination of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili in 2009 to be returned to the army.

Justice Nomngcongo made the ruling after Crown counsel, Advocate Lehlanako Mofilikoane, from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, had applied for the return of the weapons to the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF).

At least 16 mercenaries from Mozambique and South Africa mounted daring attacks on Makoanyane Military Barracks and State House in April 2009 in a bid to topple Dr Mosisili’s government. Three of the mercenaries were killed by the LDF during the botched coup, while another died in prison.

The other arrested mercenaries were subsequently charged in the High Court with murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, unlawful entry into Lesotho and unlawful possession of firearms.

In 2012, Justice Nomngcongo, found the mercenaries guilty of the charges and slapped them with a 15-year prison sentence each.

Those convicted were Solomon Mabasa, Antonio Jose Lopes, Alberto Makwakwa, Francisca Alberto Mandlate, Mangani Malenge, Abel Nhatsave, George Thomas, Angelo Mondlani and Rocky Anthony Masinga.

However, the judge did not make any order regarding the weapons that were used in the attacks which had been stolen from the LDF.

The arms were exhibited in court during the trial and remained in police custody after the case was completed.

However, Justice Nomngcongo on Thursday said the firearms should be returned to the LDF.

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