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 ‘She did not deserve to die like this’


Family mourns daughter caught in famo crossfire

Staff Reporter

Four innocent lives were lost after unknown gunmen opened fire in a Ha Seoli shop on the night of 11January—suspected victims of a senseless famo turf war that is increasingly getting out of hand.

The Sunday Express has learnt that one of the victims—50-year-old Neo Joseph Makhanya of Koro-koro had gone into the shop to buy a drink and proceed home when he met his untimely death. He worked at a construction company and had decided to buy a soft-drink in the shop, which also doubles as a bar.

Tholang Monyatsi of Mohale’s Hoek and Moorosi Mokoena of Ha Motloheloa, both 34 years of age, alongside 24-year-old ’Mannete Moroke were also victims of circumstances. They happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time as they were also caught in crossfire when the gunmen, believed to be two, opened fire.

Only one unidentified victim and the shop-owner, who came out of the shooting unscathed, are believed to have had some attachment to the feuding between Mafeteng-based famo music gangs by the names of Terene and Seakhi, whose fight for supremacy has claimed tens of lives over recent years.

When a Sunday Express crew visited the Moroke home in Ha Seoli yesterday, mourning family members recalled how they came to know of the untimely death of their beloved daughter who had gone to buy airtime without even informing them she was going to the shop.

“I started getting worried when I could not find her at all the neighbouring families as she was a very reserved person who hardly visited anyone,” said ‘’Mannete’s uncle, who requested not to be identified for security reasons.

“She appeared to have gone out of the house hoping to come back before we could even notice that she was not around, but unfortunately, she never made it back home.”

The uncle said after a lengthy search, he decided to visit the shop—only to see a crowd and police cars at the store.

“I walked past and there was a man following me in a very suspicious manner. I decided to confront him and ask why he was following me. He said we just happened to be going in the same direction,” said the uncle.

“I then asked him why the shop was already closed and people were standing by. He then told me there had been a shooting that had claimed five lives in that shop.

“He emphasized that one of the deceased was a young woman and I asked him to describe her to me. And when he did, my heart sank as the description fitted ’Mannete. I fell to my knees, still not believing my ears and in denial.”

’Mannete’s uncle said he had not heard a single gunshot, but from what the family was told by the police, his niece had been caught in crossfire as she left the shop.

“She was pushed back into the shop where she received a bullet in the back of her head,” said the now irate uncle.

“Innocent people have died and it’s sad that more innocent lives are still going to be lost by the look of things. If I were to know these people, I would bet with my own dear life and avenge my niece’s death. My niece did not deserve to die like this.”

Meanwhile, ’Mannete’s death has left the whole family devastated.

“She was such a sweet child, always clinging to her grandmother. She had come here for her mother’s funeral, who was buried about two weeks ago and was working on her travel documents as she stayed in South Africa,” said her aunt, who also preferred anonymity for security reasons.

“’We were still trying to heal from her mother’s death, and we thank God that He took her life because maybe she would be have become paralyzed from the shooting and we would never get closure as we looked after her. I thank God for putting ’Mannete to rest,” said the aunt.

In her appeal to the killers, the distraught aunt said: “These people should know that we are all entitled to live in this country. We all belong to this country just like them. No one has the right to kill another person. We are asking the authorities to protect us from these senseless killers.”

She continued: “Innocent people are dying. We are imploring the authorities to stop this behaviour.

“We are at the mercy of the authorities; we ask them to deal with these killers accordingly. Let them go back to where they came from and leave us to cleanse our village in peace, especially now that they have even recruited our children into this life of brutality.”

The police, on the other hand, have still not arrested anyone in connection with the massacre.

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