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Mosotho man abducted in Welkom

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Caswell Tlali

MASERU — A Mosotho man was abducted in Welkom, Free State, while another was seriously assaulted by members of a feared Lesotho’s famo music gang on April 19. Welkom police say the assailants are a group of illegal miners known as zama-zamas. The zama-zamas are believed to belong to two rival gangs, Terene and Seakhi (Matlama), who have caused terror in Welkom.

Welkom police say the two Lesotho men, Thabiso Nkunyane and Motlalentoa Motlaopa who are 27 and 25 years old respectively, were walking near Western Holdings No 1 Shaft when a group of men attacked them. “The motive for the attack is unknown but it is suspected that it was the Lesotho groupings between “Matlama” and “Terene ha e tlale” which are involved in a fight,” Constable Kethabile Mofokeng said in a statement.

“Mr Nkunyane managed to flee the scene and Mr Motlaopa was caught and assaulted by the group, since then Mr Motlaopa has disappeared,” she said. “Up to this far, he could not be traced.”
Mofokeng has appealed to the public to contact the investigating officer, Detective Warrant Officer Mokgejane Khutšoane, on cell phone number 0027 83 940 1743 if they know the whereabouts of Motlaopa or if they have any information on the case. At least a hundred people have died in the gang wars between Seakhi and Terene since the clashes began four years ago.

Soon after the formation of the coalition government, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Molobeli Soulo and the Deputy Local Government Minister Selibe Mochoboroane went on the offensive to stop the gang wars. The two groups signed a peace accord in Mafeteng and promised to stop the violence. The Terene camp is led by prominent All Basotho Convention (ABC) supporter, Rethabile Mokete, known in the famo music circles as Mosotho Chakela while the Seakhi group is led by Lehlohonolo Maketsi aka Mahlanya and Bereng Majoro aka Lekase who are linked to the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party.

Although the gangs signed a peace pact, they remain miles apart in their views on how to resolve the crisis, a situation that could see the peace efforts hitting a brick-wall. There have been killings of followers of the groups despite peace efforts by the government in collaboration with the gang leaders. Most murders are committed in Mafeteng, Lesotho’s southern district that has most famo musicians.

Mochoboroane, the LCD MP in Mafeteng’s Thabana-Morena constituency, has on several occasions appealed for peace. On several times Mochoboroane went to Welkom to meet members of the warring groups in a bid to halt the fighting.

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