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Mokhothu pleads for peace among rival Famo gangs

…slams police for meddling in Famo wars, fuelling killings

’Marafaele Mohloboli

DEPUTY Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu has pleaded with rival Famo gangs to desist from their deadly wars which have resulted in rampant killings all over the country including those of innocent women and children.

The Democratic Congress (DC) leader warned that unless the Famo factions, who are also popular for their traditional music genre, desisted from violent crimes, he would be forced to act against them if the DC comes to power after the elections scheduled for October this year.

Mr Mokhothu also slammed rogue police officers for meddling with Famo gangs and fuelling killings in the country.

Addressing scores of mourners at the weekend funeral of slain Famo leader of the Terene faction, Ntei Tšehlana, at Qhoalinyane, Qacha’s Nek, Mr Mokhothu bemoaned the rampant killings by Famo gangsters.

“Most of these senseless Famo killings are exacerbated by poverty and unemployment as people can easily pay hit men to carry out their dirty jobs for very little money,” Mr Mokhothu said.

“I appeal to all of you- be it Terene or Letlama factions- not to participate in the commission of these crimes because doing so will put me in a difficult corner when I come to power after the elections.

“I urge you to refrain from all manner of crime because once the DC forms government, it will clean up the police service and combat crimes. It will convict all criminals.

“The root cause of the senseless killings is the presence of illegal guns all over the place. Lives are being lost and it’s time the security agencies upped their game and seized these guns without any discrimination.”

The late Tšehlana had taken over the mantle from the late Rethabile ‘Mosotho Chakela’ Mokete who died after a short illness in Bloemfontein on 5 January 2021.

At the time of his death, Mr Mokete’s Terene faction had defected from the All Basotho Convention (ABC) to the DC.

Mr Tšehlana had carried on from where Mr Mokete had left off but his life was cut short by unknown gunmen at a DC concert in Mokhotlong on 2 April 2022. He initially sustained injuries but succumbed to them a few days later.

Addressing mourners, Mr Mokhothu appealed to them not to take the law into their own hands and avenge Tšehlana’s death. Instead, he suggested that they should tip-off the police if they had any information on the killers.

He had no kind words for rogue officers who he described as “criminals hiding in police uniforms”.

“Once the DC assumes power, we will work hand in hand with the security agencies weed out all criminals hiding behind the police force to fuel violence.”

Meanwhile, a Terene member, only identified as Mentla, has alleged that although Tšehlana’s killer was well known to the police, they had not done anything about it.

In fact, the police had arrested him only to quickly release him without even charging him, Mentla claimed at Tšehlana’s funeral.

“The person who killed Ntate Molele is known; he is some guy from Hlotse, Leribe. There is no way that Ntate Molele would have survived because I hear there were plans to finish him off in hospital.

“He knew that he was going to die because there were phone calls from well-known people warning him that he was going to be killed and it went just as planned. Those of us who are Chakela’s people don’t have connections in the police force. But we don’t believe that the police do not know his (Tšehlana)’s killers,” Mentla said.

Contacted for comment, police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said they were investigating claims that a suspect from Leribe had been arrested and released without being charged with Tšehlana’s murder. .
“We’re aware of these allegations and currently investigating them,” Senior Supt Mopeli said.


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