- police worried by the escalation of crimes against women and the elderly
POLICE have expressed concern at the escalation of crimes against women and the elderly with the latest incident being that of a 25-year-old man of Ha-Borane, Popa in the Mokhotlong District who was arrested for allegedly raping his 83-year-old grandmother.
Senior Inspector Motlalehi Phihlela of Mofoka Police Station said the elderly woman was raped in her residential home in Popa on Wednesday night. He said a case had been opened although they were still waiting for a medical report from the hospital.
Senior Inspector Phihlela said the suspect was living with his grandmother when the incident occurred.
He added that investigations were ongoing and the suspect who is currently in police custody will appear in court as soon as the investigations have been completed.
He further said that that at least two cases of abuse or rape were reported at Mofoka Police Station every month and early this year, an elderly woman in her 80s was killed by her grandson on allegations that she had bewitched him.
He appealed to communities, families to protect the elderly and teach the young generation that it was their responsibility to care and protect the elderly and not to abuse them in any way.
The latest incident comes against the background of the 15 September 2018 rape and murder of an 83-year-old Mafeteng granny in a suspected case of a ritual killing.
‘Masefali Mporoane, of Malealea, was found dead by her nephew Molikeng Mporoane in the morning of 16 September 2018. The elderly woman was raped and killed in her own house in an incident which left the Mafeteng community shell-shocked.
The Sunday Express recently visited the deceased’s homestead and met Mr Mporoane who said his aunt’s body parts appeared to have been harvested as her tongue was missing. He said there were visible signs that she had been raped.
The Mokhotlong woman was raped just two days after Lesotho joined the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day of Older Persons which is celebrated annually on 1 October.
This year’s commemorations celebrated older persons as pioneers of human rights under the theme ‘Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions’.
According to the United Nations almost 700 million people are currently over 60 years and by 2050, two billion people, which is equivalent to 20 per cent of the World’s population will be 60 years or older.
The alleged rape and gruesome Mafeteng murder are the latest in the long series of violence and killings of women and children which continue to taint the history of this country.
On 23 July this year, five women were murdered in cold blood in the Ha-Mokauli village, some 25 kilometres south of the capital, Maseru.
At about 6pm on that fateful evening, the sound of gunfire sent the villagers scurrying for cover behind and below anything that could shelter them.
The loud gunshots lasted for about 30 minutes and thereafter there was an eerie silence. When the shocked villagers finally came out of their hiding places, they were met with the gruesome sight of the five bodies of women who had been gunned down in their own homes. Another woman was writhing in pain together with a two-year-old toddler who had a bullet lodged in her arm.
The gunmen had already disappeared without a trace, leaving no explanation for the trail of corpses, blood, orphaned children and broken-hearted families.
Mr Mohapinyane, the village chief, Mokhalinyane Sekhonyane, and the villagers are still at loss as to what could have caused the brutal murders of the women. Some Famo musicians and their followers have been known to engage in deadly conflicts and Chief Sekhonyane said it was possible that the massacres were one of those Famo killings. He also said these could have been revenge killings after the murder of a male villager a few months ago.
Police spokesperson Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli recently said that no arrests have been made in connection with the murders and the police were still following the leads to find the killers.
In January this year, the Ntširele community in Khubetsoana, Maseru was shocked by the brutal murder of prominent businesswoman ‘Mathabang Radiile (53), allegedly by her live-in partner, Lebohang Nkuebe (41).
Ms Radiile’s four months old grand-daughter was seriously injured after being sprayed with acid in one of the most gruesome cases of women and child abuse in Lesotho.
Mr Nkuebe subsequently appeared in court over the murder and the case is still on-going.
Last year, there were several cases of the killings of women and children that were reported. The violence and killings are part of wider global scourge which the World Bank says affects one in every three women.
In April this year, the World Bank published an article which showed that globally, as many as 38 percent of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner.
The World Bank also reported that 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. It further revealed that seven percent of women have been sexually assaulted by someone else other than their partner.
“One characteristic of Violence against Women and Girls is that it knows no social or economic boundaries: this issue needs to be addressed in both developing and developed countries, and affects women of all socio-economic backgrounds.
“When speaking about violence against women and girls, it is important to remember that this issue involves both men and women and requires a holistic approach. The overwhelming majority of violence is perpetrated by men, and addressing male perpetration is a critical part of addressing the violence,” the World Bank states in its article titled ‘Violence against Women and Girls’.
The World Bank also said it had committed US$150 million in development projects around the world aimed at addressing violence against women and girls.