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Majoro declares war on criminals

’Marafaele Mohloboli

PRIME Minister Moeketsi Majoro has declared war on criminals, saying security agencies must not show any mercy to criminals responsible for the spate of rapes and murders of defenceless women and children.

His said this at a public gathering at St Monica, Lerib,e on Wednesday. He was accompanied by the army commander, Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela, Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli and ministers; Prince Maliehe (Defence and National Security) and ’Mamoipone Senauoane (Police and Public Safety).

His comments follow the upsurge in the rapes and murders of women and children around the country.

Two murders were recorded in Leribe last month. The first was the murder of 25-year-old ‘Maleshoane Tukula whose dismembered body parts were discovered on 22 July 2020 in a bushy area in Kholokoe.

Shocked herdboys initially discovered Maleshoane’s right leg that appeared to have been freshly severed from the rest of her body on 22 July.

Police investigators later conducted a search and the next day they discovered two arms that had been severed from the collarbone. They also discovered the other leg and a thigh that had also been severed from the rest of the body. The rest of the body parts, including the head, have still not been found.

The second murder was that of 46-year-old mentally challenged ’Mapaseka Mokoatsela who was raped and killed in her house in Leribe on 28 July 2020.

According to a relative, Mokoatsela died after being strangled and raped by unknown men who had broken into her house. Upon examining her lifeless body, the police are said to have found some used condoms inside her indicating that she had been raped before being murdered.

No arrests have been made so far in both cases and Tukula’s head and torso have still not been found.

Speaking at the St Monica gathering on Wednesday, Dr Majoro said the country could no more afford to have rampaging killers on the loose.

“It’s only been two months since we came into office and took an oath to protect you and yet we see people behaving like loose canons running around killing Basotho women,” Dr Majoro said.

“I am tired of the abuse of women and children and this is enough. As you see, these men in uniform here with me share my sentiments. They also agree that enough is enough.

“I am therefore giving them a directive to instill fear in the hearts of criminals from today onwards.

“You have given us a mandate to protect you and I shall do as you have requested. I am surrounded by security men and women and I urge them to take the lead in this fight. Peace should reign in this place,” said Dr Majoro.

On his part, Lt-Gen Letsoela said they would not allow criminals to go unpunished for murdering defenceless women and children.

“These acts were committed by some of you and I’m sure you already have your suspects.

“Acts such as these really pain us as men and women who are devoted to protecting lives. Today we are gathered here with our heads bowed in shame because we have failed in our duty and young innocent lives have been taken away by merciless hands.

“Ours is to enforce the law and not to interpret it. I see very young men and women and I just wonder where they were on the fateful night (of Mokoatsela’s murder). We shall tighten the rope (against criminals) from both ends until it snaps,” said Lt-Gen Letsoela.

Minister Maliehe said he had directed the army, police and the intelligence to comb the area and not leave until after they have found the perpetrators of the heinous crimes.

Ms Senauoane echoed Mr Maliehe’s sentiments and also condemned the brutal murders of women and children.

“Men should be made aware that women are not playgrounds for their sexual gratification.

“Ntate Holomo, ha li ba je. Ha li ba je li ba siee monoana o motona bahabo bona ba ba tsebe ka eona (“Commissioner Molibeli, destroy the criminals. Destroy them and leave only their big toes so that their relatives will be able to identify their remains),” Ms Senauoane said.

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