MASERU — Police say they are worried that individuals and villagers have taken it upon themselves to dispense justice against crime suspects.
Police spokesperson Masupha Masupha said police were alarmed by the sudden surge in the number of suspects who have been beaten or killed either by villagers or individuals.
Three incidents of mob justice against suspects over the past two weeks have raised alarm in the police.
On May 15, a 14-year-old boy from Morija Ha Rants’ets’e was badly injured after being shot by a 41-year-old man who allegedly suspected him of stealing his property.
“The victim was rushed to hospital after he sustained an injury on the chin and both the suspect and his wife were arrested for being in possession of an illegal firearm,” Masupha said.
“The suspect will be charged with attempted murder and illegal possession of a firearm. His wife will also be charged for illegal possession a firearm.”
The couple is still in police custody awaiting trial.
On May 8, a 31-year-old man from Ha Mpo Matsieng was found dead after being fatally assaulted by villagers who suspected him of being a stock rustler.
Masupha said after beating the man the villagers rushed him to Queen Elizabeth II Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
“The community was complaining that he had stolen their livestock. Police are still investigating,” Masupha said.
Also on May 11, a 40-year-old man from Mokhotlong was arrested after he allegedly fatally clobbered a 22-year-old man he accused of stealing his sheep.
“The victim had bruises all over his body. The suspect was arrested at the scene. Police are still doing further investigations,” Masupha said.
Masupha urged people to desist from beating suspects.
“When community members catch these crime suspects they torture and kill them before they are proven guilty,” he said.
“They should not take the law into their own hands but should wait for the law to take its course.”