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Police probe gun battle

Billy Ntaote and Limpho Sello

MASERU — Police investigations into Wednesday’s gun battle that resulted from a fight to control the Lesotho Public Motor Transport Company (LPMTC) are underway. Heavily armed Special Operations Unit (SOU) officers stormed LPMTC’s premises after gunshots were heard early in the morning in a battle between sons of one of the owners of the company and two disgruntled directors of the LPMTC.

The company owners Chaltin Tsatsanyane and Ishmael Monare who just ended a bitter fight over control of the company, are now battling to unseat 11 people whom they allege took control of the company fraudulently while they were fighting over it. According to police spokesperson Inspector Thato Ramarikhoane, police investigations are on track following Wednesday’s fight between the warring groups over the control of the LPMTC regardless of a peace accord that Sunday Express has learned the groups agreed on.

He said during the gunfight one of the directors was shot in the leg. Ramarikhoane told the Sunday Express following the incident at the Maseru Bus stop area, police had widened investigations. The Director of Public Prosecutions’ office returned the warring groups’ case to the police for further investigations to be carried out. He said police were told they should make further investigations relating to certain issues in the case.

Ramarikhoane said the investigations would continue despite the peace agreement by the warring parties. On Wednesday morning eye witnesses said sons of Chaltin Tsatsanyane — Mokherane and Moorosi — stormed the company and engaged in a gunfight with two of the alleged fraudulent directors Khotso Lebakeng and Tsekelo Monare.

The gunfight was sparked by the beating of Tsatsanyane and Ishmael Monare on Tuesday by Lebakeng and Tsekelo Monare who claim they are directors of a LPMTC. Tsatsanyane told the Sunday Express despite the Tuesday and Wednesday  fights the warring groups had since made peace. He explained they would work things together since they were close friends.

He said the Wednesday incidents that saw heavily armed police officers being called in after he and Monare had been assaulted on Tuesday occurred when they were trying to inform their company’s tenants about changes on company ownership.

“We recently realised when we were busy fighting there were people who had fraudulently taken control over of the
company and had appointed themselves directors of the company without our knowledge. “Then when we tried to meet our tenants on Tuesday these fraudulent directors attacked and even injured Ntate Monare,” he said.

Tsatsanyane said the following day his sons went to the company premises to arrest Lebakeng and Tsekelo Monare but ended in a gun battle which was later stopped by police. “When they tried to get others who had assaulted Monare (Ishmael), there was an exchange of gunfire as Tsekelo Monare shot my sons who retaliated.

“It is unfortunate that in the battle, Tsekelo shot one of his people, Motsoahae Motsoahae who was then already apprehended by my sons,” he alleged. He said after long debate they ended up striking a peace deal that would see the parties resolve their company ownership squabble amicably.

Ishmael Monare confirmed he was injured on his left eye and had four stitches and that on Wednesday the sons of Tsatsanyane and the disgruntled directors engaged in gunfight. Attempts to get a comment from Tsekelo Monare were unsuccessful as his mobile phone number was unavailable.


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