THE Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) recently recovered more than 600 sheep and goats that had been stolen from their owners in the Sekokoaneng village in the Qacha’s Nek district.
The livestock was recovered after a rescue operation that the LDF officers manning the Sekokoaneng outpost conducted after receiving a tip off from the public.
The LDF officers were informed that livestock posts in Sekoakoaneng and Sehlaba Thebe area near the border with South Africa had been raided by thieves who made off with the animals.
“Upon receiving a tip off about the theft, the LDF officers in the area immediately reacted and successfully retrieved different types livestock from the hands of the thieves,’’ the LDF’s Public Affairs Officer Captain Sakeng Lekola recently told the Sunday Express.
“There were 540 sheep and 61 goats and all the recovered livestock were from the Sekokoaneng village whose chief is Morena Lekhooa Selo. The animals were recovered in in the area of Sehong Hong in the Thaba Tseka district.
“All the animals were returned to their owners, namely, Motšopho Khoqa, Pontšo Seleke, Komeni Sthandiswa. Two suspects in the theft have been handed over to the police. The suspects are believed to be from within the vicinity of the affected villages.”
In a separate incident that took place in the Koakoatsi area in the Mokhotlong district on 22 March this year, three sheep and three goats were recovered from suspected a thief.
“An alarm was raised by villagers after an unknown man was seen passing through the village with the livestock. And so the army responded and discovered that the man in question did not have relevant identification documents for the animals.”
In February this year, the LDF busted cattle rustling operation and recovered eight beasts in the Tsatsa-Lemeno in the district of Qacha’s Nek near the border with the South Africa.
The recovery of the beasts was praised by the LDF Director of Operations, Lieutenant Colonel Motenalapi Mohololi who applauded the soldiers’ good work which saw them come to the rescue of the community.
“We are massively proud to have soldiers of this calibre, who understand the role they are required to perform” said Lieutenant Mohololi said in February.
Lt-Col Mohololi revealed that through various operations last December, the LDF recovered more than 400 stolen cattle, 700 sheep and 161 goats. They also confiscated a considerable number of firearms of various calibres.
The LDF command has deployed its members at crime hotspots around the country to combat criminal activities including stock theft.
The district of Qacha’s Nek is a hotspot due to the high levels of stock theft and the Sekokoaneng village is seen as the “epicentre of rustling” hence the establishment of a permanent army post in 2018.
“The army post in Sekokoaneng village serves the villages in the vicinity of the border with Matatiele and the plan is to block the Tsatsa-Lemeno and other tributary areas that were habitually used as escape routes by criminals between Lesotho and RSA.
“Patrolling the borders, preserving lives and protecting community property falls within the jurisdiction of the army. The reaction of our members and their dedication to duty leaves no doubt that the translation of policy into concrete missions and tasks is well understood by subordinates,” said the Battalion Commander Lt-Col Senatla Damane, whose battalion is deployed to the army forward bases to ensure the security of the country.
“Our relationship with the communities at our various posts has been cordial and it is helping in the realisation of fruitful results”, Lt-Col Damane said.