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Manhunt for rogue soldier

Bereng Mpaki

THE Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) is appealing to the public for information that will lead to the arrest of an army officer, Private Moeketsi Henry Lehlabathe, who escaped from the LDF detention centre at Ratjomose Barracks in Maseru on Friday.

The LDF however, warned the public against attempting to apprehend Pvt Lehlabathe as “he could pose danger to their lives”. The public was also warned against entertaining Pvt Lehlabathe as “he is a fraudster”.

Captain Sakeng Lekola of the LDF public affairs office, yesterday told the Sunday Express that Pvt Lehlabathe escaped from lawful custody where he was serving an 80-day sentence for absenteeism and escaping from lawful custody.

Captain Lekola said Pvt Lehlabathe had been tried and found guilty by the court martial. His sentence started on 20 December 2018 and was due to end on 10 March 2019.

He was charged with contravening section 55 of the LDF Act no. 4 of 1996 in connection with absence from work without official leave and section 70 of the same act in connection with escaping from lawful custody.

A statement issued by Captain Lekola on behalf of the LDF also informs the “the Basotho nation about the on-going LDF operation to re-arrest one of its members (Pvt Lehlabathe) who has escaped from lawful custody contrary to the LDF Act”.

“The LDF public affairs office appeals to all the people of goodwill to alert the LDF and Lesotho Mounted Police Service once they see that man. The nation is further cautioned not to attempt to apprehend that man as he could pose a potential danger to their lives. Besides, everyone is advised not to welcome him in their homes as he is a fraudster.

“The PAO further wishes to warn everyone who would habour Pvt Lehlabathe or do anything that may hamper the LDF operation to re-arrest him that by so doing, they would be acting in contravention of the LDF Act no. 4 of 1996, and therefore be liable to be charged under the same law even if they are not members of the defence force.”

Pvt Lehlabathe (38) is said to be is tall, slim and brown in complexion. At the time of his escape on Friday, he was wearing a pair of khaki trousers, a khaki sweater, a black jacket and a pair of black sneakers.

He resides in Upper Thamae in Maseru and is originally from Thoteng in the Mohale’s Hoek district.


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