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Runaway initiate pays with his life

Tsitsi Matope

MASERU — An 18-year-old paid with his life for running away from an initiation school in Mafeteng on Thursday last week. The teenager had earlier this month, ran away from an initiation school in Thabana Morena, under unclear circumstances. This is the second case of murder in the past two weeks after the Berea fatal assault which was also linked to the highly secretive traditional initiation schools.

However, police have since arrested the 20-year-old murder suspect. He was denied bail when he appeared before the Mafeteng Magistrates Court on Monday this week. Police spokesperson Inspector Thato Ramarikhoane last Friday said the suspect had volunteered to track down the victim after he ran away from the initiation school a day before the fatal assault.

“He found him at his home in Ha Koranta where he assaulted him with a stick until he died.” Ramarikhoane said police were unable to determine the nature of practices at the initiation school, which could have led the victim to run away. They also failed to establish whether the suspect was acting on instructions or it was a plan to convince the now deceased to return to the school which might have gone wrong.

“Operations are usually secretive at most initiation schools throughout the country. As a result, this makes investigations into circumstances surrounding the death of the teenager and three other initiates in the same district this year, difficult. If these deaths are a result of disciplinary measures, what are the levels of insanity at such schools?”

Another 20-year-old herdboy was beaten to death by a neighbour with whom he had recently attended an initiation school with at Lekokoaneng in Berea on Monday last week. The fatal assault followed a misunderstanding that started while the two were at the school. Police could not establish details of the secretive misunderstanding, even after the arrest of the suspect.

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