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Lesotho, UK in defence deal

Limpho Sello

THE ministries of defence of Lesotho and that of the United Kingdom (UK) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which is meant to set out a firm foundation and framework for cooperation between the two countries.

Ministry of Defence and National Security Lesotho and the United Kingdom (UK) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Ministry’s Headquarters that set out

Speaking at the signing ceremony on Wednesday, the Minister of Defence and National Security, Tefo Mapesela, said the MOU finds the two countries’ bilateral cooperation in full swing as evidenced by some training courses that have already been offered to the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) and other security agencies over the past year.

Mr Mapesela said a bright future awaits the ministry in the field of training as they appreciate the high quality of training offered to them.

“In my view, a bright future awaits us in the field of training and we are very appreciative of the high quality of training already rendered,” Mr Mapesela said.

“Through the MOU that we have just signed today, the areas of cooperation that we are going to embark on are many and varied. Among others, we can mention the following; defence policy, training course, debates and symposia, peacekeeping missions, humanitarian missions, search and rescue missions, Health and medical care, civil and military relations, exchange of delegates, meeting between similar defence institutions and military exercises.”

Mr Mapesela assured the British High Commissioner Anne Macro that Lesotho undertakes to perform all that is expected of it to grow the bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

For her part, Ms Macro said the security sector reform is one of the key components of Lesotho’s national reform process adding that they are honoured to work with the ministry on the important agenda.

Ms Macro saluted the commitment that Mr Mapesela, the ministry and the LDF have shown to move beyond the events of the recent past and focusing on the important work that needs to done by a modern professional defence force.

“As you are aware, following the publication of the government’s reform programme ‘The Lesotho We Want’ in November 2017, the UK offered a programme of reform-related courses for members of the LDF and the wider security sector in coordination with SADC.

“These courses included: conflict management, managing defence in the wider security context, the psychology of leadership and media operations. We funded a senior officer from the LDF to attend regional leadership training in Botswana and another senior officer has just returned from a course at the UK’s prestigious Defence College.

“The MOU we have signed today will to ensure that we can build on this work and further strengthen our defence and security partnership,” Ms Macro said.

Since last year, during the tenure of the Southern Africa Development Community Prevention Mission in Lesotho (SAPMIL), Lesotho’s security forces have gone through various training programmes to restore peace and tranquility and civil military relations.

The trainings came after a prolonged period of anarchy riddled with rampant brutal killings of civilians and fellow officers alike mainly by the army under the command of Retired Lieutenant Tlali Kamoli.

Apart from the army, the police also received various trainings including crime intelligence from SAPMIL.

SAPMIL also assisted in the Lesotho Mounted Police’s (LMPS) investigations of the assassinations of army commanders, Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao and Khoantle Motšomotšo who were murdered by fellow soldiers in 2015 and 2017 respectively.

In February this year, LDF officers underwent a two weeks Peace Support Operation course at Makoanyane Barracks.

The training was facilitated by experts from France saw 141 soldiers from the rank of private to major (company commander) being trained on peace keeping initiatives.

Soldiers from departments such as the Military Police, Military Hospital, Air Wing, Military Intelligence, Transport, Training Wing, Engineering and Peace Keeping Company were trained by the 17-member French army team led by Captain Jenque Hard.

) continues to be the largest force that can intervene in conflicts to ensure law and order Deputy Chief of Defence Staff Major General Matela Matobakele has said.

Maj Gen Matobakele said this during the official opening of a two weeks Peace Support Operation training this week at Makoanyane Barracks.

The training which is being facilitated by experts from France will see 141 soldiers from the rank of private to major (company commander) being trained on peace keeping initiatives.

Also present at the opening was also the Honorary Consul of France in Lesotho Remi Beghin and other LDF staff.

Soldiers from departments such as the Military Police, Military Hospital, Air Wing, Military Intelligence, Transport, Training Wing, Engineering and Peace Keeping Company while the 17-member French army team is led by Captain Jenque Hard.

 

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