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Mafeteng mayor survives assassination attempt

’Marafaele Mohloboli

MAFETENG Mayor Leferefere Nthoesana is lucky to be alive after a would-be assassin opened fire on his shop on Monday evening in attempt to kill him.

Mr Nthoesana relieved his ordeal in a recent interview with the Sunday Express. Although he is still searching for answers trying to understand who wanted to kill and why, Mr Nthoesana is just grateful to be alive.

He said he had just closed his shop at about 7pm when he spotted a masked figure sitting in the parking car and watching him.

“From where I stood, I could tell that the man was wearing a balaclava and as I took a few steps backwards towards the shop, the shooting started,” Mr Nthoesana said.

“One of the customers who had just left the shop came running back inside for cover as the shooting continued. Four bullets pierced through the shop window and narrowly missed the spot where and my wife normally sit. It was then that I called the police.

My car was also hit by the bullets and all the 14 shells of a 9mm pistol were found at the scene.

“I shouldn’t be alive. I think I was very lucky that I was not harmed and no one of the people in my shop were harmed as well. I owe my life to God and am forever grateful for his mercies.”

Mafeteng has achieved notoriety on account of the armed, deadly conflicts between rival famo music gangs.  The attack on Mr Nthoesana came barely two weeks after a shootout between some Famo gangs claimed four lives.

Innocent people have also been caught up in the deadly Famo wars.

While he is happy to be alive, the incident has left him shaken and seeking answers as to who would want him dead and for what reason.

“This ordeal has left me reeling with unanswered questions. I don’t know whether this was a random attack since our area is a crime hotspot. Was it a personal attack or an attack on me in my capacity as the mayor of Mafeteng?

“I should now tread carefully around people because I don’t know if there is someone who wanted me eliminated. I am still very confused.”

He said he was very grateful to the Mafeteng police’s swift response even though they did not have an official vehicle to come to his recue.

“The police who came to my aid were using a private car owned by one of the officers and I am extremely grateful to them. I also thank the public for coming to the shooting scene in large numbers.”

Police Spokesperson Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli was not reachable for comment on his mobile phone.

Mr Nthoesana is the second politician to survive an attack by unknown assailants in as many weeks.

A fortnight ago, All Basotho Convention (ABC) deputy spokesperson, ‘Matebatso Doti, survived a horrific knife attack in her Lithabaneng, Maseru home.

The Lithabaneng legislator is lucky to be alive after being stabbed five times by eight unknown assailants in what she said was an assassination attempt at her Lithabaneng, Maseru home in the early hours of Friday 26 July 2019.

The assailants told Ms Doti that they had been sent to kill her for siding with Prof Mahao in the ABC power struggle. They also robbed her of M4000 that was deposited in her bank account and two guns that belonged to her late husband who had retired from the army by the time of his death in 2017.

While she said it was an assassination attempt, two separate statements released by the government and the police suggested that they consider the attack on Ms Doti to be purely a criminal act of assault, theft and robbery by criminals who made off with her valuables.

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