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Mahao autopsy report not yet complete


maaparankoe mahaoKeiso Mohloboli

A pathologist hired by the Mahao family to examine the body of the late former Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander  Maaparankoe Mahao could not complete his report on Friday as expected.

According to family spokesperson Lehloenya Mahao, although the South African physician  conducted the autopsy, he still needed to do a forensic examination on the vehicle in which the late soldier was shot, the army truck which carried him from the scene and firearms used by the LDF members to gun him down.

The pathologist, who conducted the post-mortem in Bloemfontein where the body was taken on Thursday, is expected in Maseru this week and the Mahao family is hoping the physician would get the cooperation he needs to complete his report.

Brigadier Mahao—who was removed as army commander on 21 May 2015 and demoted from Lieutenant General to his old rank of Brigadier after government argued his appointment and promotion had been illegally made on 29 August 2014 by then Prime Minister Thomas Thabane—was shot by LDF members as he left his farm in Mokema on the afternoon of 25 June 2015. The army has since said the 47-year-old was killed during a special operation investigating alleged mutiny in the LDF.

The operation, which started in May this year, has seen several LDF members being arrested and detained at Maseru Maximum Security Prison. The detained soldiers claim they are being tortured during questioning.

On the day Brigadier Mahao died, Defence and National Security minister Tšeliso Mokhosi issued a statement that he was shot “following a confrontation” with LDF members who were on a mission to arrest him.

The family denies their son ever resisted arrest and says he was allegedly shot with his hands raised in surrender.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has since pledged to help investigate what transpired on the fateful day, and also provided two pathologists  who also conducted a post-mortem on the slain soldier in Bloemfontein.

However, the Mahao family went ahead with its plans to hire its own pathologist as it leaves no stone unturned in probing the death of their beloved son.

“There are some missing issues which have to be investigated from here (Lesotho), which is why the report could not be completed on Friday.

“According to the pathologist, the truck he was driving when he was attacked by the soldiers, the army 4×4 vehicle that was used to take him from the crime scene to Makoanyane and the firearms used to shoot him need to be inspected before the report is complete,” Mr Mahao said.

Another family member, Professor Nqosa Mahao added: “The forensic examination  will not only focus on the trucks and firearm but also the clothes he was wearing because they were very wet, not with blood but what is suspected to be water. And they were also very torn,” Prof Mahao said.

“It is the family’s belief that the post-mortem report will tie the loose ends and would be complete before the funeral, which is set for 11 July in Mokema.”

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