MASERU — Police have launched an operation codenamed Thibela to round up illegal firearms in Mafeteng district.
Police spokesperson Masupha Masupha said they were going all out to ensure that most criminals are arrested by “Christmas so residents can have a peaceful festive season”.
“We will visit people at night in their homes to search for illegal firearms and other dangerous weapons,” Masupha said.
“We are going to use all our sources to make sure that by Christmas time most of crime offenders in Mafeteng are behind bars.”
Masupha said they decided to launch Operation Thibela after villagers in Ha Mathebe and Ha Tseka clashed over grazing land.
During the dispute some villagers used guns and other dangerous weapons.
He said four men aged between 17 and 36 were arrested after they were found in possession of illegal firearms.
Police confiscated four illegal firearms during the search.
“We now search people who are attending social gatherings such as funerals and parties since we have realised that criminals frequent such places,” Masupha said.
Another illegal firearm was also recovered under a mattress during a funeral in Mafeteng, he said.
“We could not arrest the suspect immediately as we respect tradition but she will be arrested after they have laid their deceased to rest,” police said.
After the incident, Masupha said, they realised that they needed to search people at funerals.
In a separate incident, a 36- year-old man from Thaba-Tseka was arrested for allegedly raping a four year-old girl on October 18.
According to the police report the suspect went to the victim’s home and offered to buy her some sweets.
It is alleged that he took her to a secluded place where he allegedly raped her.
The incident came to light after the girl reported to her mother what had happened.
A report was then made to the police leading to the arrest of the accused.
Meanwhile, a primary school principal in Thaba-Tseka was arrested on October 18 for impregnating a 14-year-old school girl.
According to the police report the suspect had been allegedly raping the victim since April this year but the girl did not report the matter.
The matter came to light after the teenager fell pregnant.
The suspect is in police custody and he will appear in court soon.
Police are investigating the matter.