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LDF regrets actions that triggered instability

by Sunday Express
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Staff Reporter

THE Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Major General Matela Matobakele has expressed dismay over the 2014 political instability which forced politicians, soldiers and even ordinary people into exile in fear for their lives.

The LDF attempted a coup on 30 August 2014 and it raided and seized arms from police stations in and around Maseru. The army attacks on the police headquarters resulted in the death of Sub-Inspector, Mokheseng Ramahloko.

Speaking at a recent public gathering at Mophatong village in Mokhotlong district, Maj-Gen Matobakele, said the attempted coup on 30 August 2014 came as a shock to Basotho and the rest of the world.

“After the attempted coup, many rebellious incidents took place within the military where we saw some officers targeted and charged with mutiny,” Maj-Gen Matobakele said.

Other events that shook the nation include the June 2015 assassination of former army commander, Lieutenant General, Maaparankoe Mahao.

Lt-Gen Mahao was ambushed and shot by his peers from the LDF near his farm in Mokema on 25 June 2015.

His widely condemned killing kick-started a chain of events that resulted in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) establishing a commission of inquiry to probe the murder and the instability in Lesotho.

The LDF claimed at the time that Lt-Gen Mahao had been shot while resisting arrest over an alleged mutiny plot.  However, the army’s version was dismissed as untrue by both the soldier’s family and the SADC commission of inquiry headed by retired judge, Mphaphi Phumaphi.

Lt-Gen Mahao’s family accused the army of killing him in cold blood, based on the account of his nephews who were with him during the incident.

Again on 5 September 2017, the nation was plunged into a fresh bout of instability when Lt-Gen Motšomotšo was gunned down by his subordinates, Brigadier Bulane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi at his Ratjomose Barracks offices in Maseru.

“Those were difficult times because some officers were hunted down day and night and had to flee. Some victims who were civilian were killed and thrown into Mohale Dam.

“It is so shameful that such inhumane activities occurred within the LDF and yet our responsibilities as the army are to protect the nation without any discrimination,” Maj-Gen Matobakele said.

He blamed the political instability on the lack of discipline and professionalism on the part of some army officers.

He however, promised that apart from its mandate of protecting the nation, the LDF would also focus on development programmes aimed at helping needy Basotho.

 

 

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