MASERU — A senior police officer who threatened to torture suspects and “dislodge their buttocks with a knobkerrie” has landed himself in hot water. The Sunday Express has been told that Senior Inspector Lenkoane Lenkoane, commander of the Lithoteng Police Station, will soon be hauled before a disciplinary panel for the statements he made at a gathering in Lithoteng last Sunday.
Speaking at the public gathering, Lenkoane said Prime Minister Tom Thabane and his government must prepare to compensate more victims of police torture because he is going to intensify the use of torture against crime suspects. He said his victim would approach the government to claim compensation “if after all they would be alive”.
“I say to Mr Prime Minister and to your government, prepare for claims because I am going to assault them,” Lenkoane said.
“Tell these young people that I will clobber them. I will dislodge their buttocks with a knobkerrie.” On Friday the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) was at pains to distance itself from Lenkoane’s statements. In a brief statement, the police said Lenkoane’s statements are “not correct in so far as the police service is concerned”.
The LMPS does not agree with Lenkoane’s utterances, said the statement said.
“Therefore proper measures have been taken about this (matter),” the statement said.
The statement also appealed to people to remain calm “because the police respect and protect the fundamental human rights of people”. Police spokesperson Masupha Masupha confirmed that the LMPS will ask Lenkoane to account for his statements. “We as the LMPS have nothing to do with the torture the officer is talking about,” Masupha said.
Meanwhile the Lesotho Council of NGOs has condemned the police’s use of torture.
LCN Commissioner of Human Rights, Thuso Ramabolu, said while the police are entitled to fight crime they should do so within the confines of the law. Lenkoane’s remarks were totally uncalled for, he said. “The police should be accountable for their deeds especially when we know for a certainty that they are conversant with human rights issues,” Ramabolu said.
“We, as human rights activists, condemn all acts of impunity by the police.”
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