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SA police officers face murder charges over Lesotho man

Ntsebeng Motsoeli

A MURDER case has been opened in South Africa against members of the South Africa Police Service (SAPS) stationed at the Maseru border post in connection with the death of an identified Lesotho man on Tuesday.

This was said yesterday by Captain Phumelelo Dhlamini of the Ficksburg Police Department.

Capt Dhlamini further said that two cases of malicious damage to property and of public violence have been opened against the Lesotho nationals who rioted at the Maseru border on Wednesday afternoon to protest of the alleged murder of the Lesotho national.

On Wednesday scores of angry Lesotho nationals blocked traffic at the Maseru and Ladybrand border gate, burning tyres and smashing the windows of the South African Revenue Services (SARS) offices to demand the arrest of two SAPS officers they accuse of murdering their countryman.

The rioters were members of a group of Lesotho nationals dubbed Lirurubele (butterflies) who solicit bribes to assist travellers who do not have passports to cross the border. The deceased is said to have been a member of the Lirurubele and his body was discovered by on the South African side of the Mohokare River on Wednesday afternoon.

Incensed by the alleged killing of one of their own, the Lirurubele vandalised property, burnt tyres and obstructed the flow of traffic at the border.

Yesterday, Captain Dlamini said they had begun investigations into the three cases of murder, malicious damage to property and of public violence.

“A murder case has been opened against all members of the South African Police Services who are stationed at the Maseru border post,” Capt Dhlamini said.

“There have been allegations that certain individuals were involved in the murder but the case is against all SAPS members at the Maseru border post. Investigations will lead us to the actual suspects.

“Two other cases of malicious damage to property and of public violence have been opened against Lesotho nationals for breaking the SARS office windows and burning tyres, obstructing the flow of traffic.”

Capt Dhlamini also revealed that the South African police were in constant communication with the family of the deceased man and a post-mortem was underway to determine the cause of his death.

“We expect the results of the post-mortem on Monday (tomorrow). Once the tests are done the body will be released from the state mortuary in Bethlehem to be transported to Lesotho,” Cpt Dhlamini said.

Meanwhile, one of the Lirurubele members who spoke to the Sunday Express on condition of anonymity said it appeared that the deceased had been severely assaulted before he was killed.

“They (SAPS officers) beat him hard. You can tell from his injuries that they wanted him dead.

“We know who did this. We will not rest until justice is served. They have to pay for what they did,” the man said.




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