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More soldiers arrested

 

’Marafaele Mohloboli

EIGHT Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) members are in police custody and being interrogated in connection with the assassination of LDF commander, Lieutenant-General Khoantle Motšomotšo.

Some of the eight LDF members are being interrogated over the disappearance of three men who had been arrested over the fatal shooting of two army officers at Maseru border post on 13 May 2017.

Police spokesperson, Inspector Mpiti Mopeli, yesterday told the Sunday Express that the eight were still being interrogated and yet to be charged. He said a determination on whether to charge or release them would be made tomorrow.

Lt-Gen Motšomotšo was shot dead at his Ratjomose barracks office by his subordinates on 5 September 2017. Two of the alleged assailants, Brigadier Bulane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi were shot dead by Lt-Gen Motšomotšo’s bodyguards, while two others, Captains Nyakane and Fonane, are in custody.

Insp Mopeli, who would not be drawn to reveal the LDF members’ identities, said they were handed over to the police by the Military Police.

“On Wednesday, one officer of the rank of brigadier was handed over by the Military Police and is still in custody to police with investigations into the assassination of the army commander, but there still have not been any formal charges against him as yet,” he said.

The Sunday Express has since learnt that the apprehended brigadier is part of the Military Intelligence unit.

On Thursday, two army officers were handed over to the police by the Military Police, while on Friday five were also brought in holding the ranks of private, corporal and captain. All of them work in the Military Intelligence unit.

The government has stated that Lt-Gen Motšomotšo did not have the backing of the Military Intelligence which was supposed to be his eyes and ears on the ground and an early warning mechanism.

Insp Mopeli said some of the LDF members in police custody were being interrogated over the disappearance of three men who had been arrested over the fatal shooting of two army officers at Maseru border post.

Khothatso Makibinyane, Motlatsi Pakela and Lekhoele Noko disappeared after their arrest by the police.

Their families have since lodged applications in the High Court seeking to compel the police and army to produce their bodies dead or alive.

The trio were among six men arrested on 13 May 2017 following the shooting dead of the two army officers at the border post.

Two of the six, who were identified as a South African national and a Mosotho man respectively were released a day after their arrest.

The other three were released from police custody on 16 May 2017 but were never seen or heard from by their relatives ever since.

Two of the three men, Mr Makibinyane and Mr Pakela, were last seen when released by police on 16 May 2017 at Pitso Ground Police Station.

Mr Noko was allegedly kidnapped by armed men who ambushed a bus he was boarding in Lekokoaneng on 15 May 2017.  Mr Noko was on the way to his home in Leribe following his release from Pitso Ground Police Station.

The sixth arrestee, Motlatsi Rantaoana (23), has since been remanded in custody and is awaiting trial in the Maseru Central Correctional Institute after being charged with murdering the two army officers. The case to inquire the circumstances that led to the disappearance of the three men is proceeding.

 

 

 

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