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Shock as granny (83) raped and murdered

Limpho Sello

THE Mafeteng district has been left shell shocked after an 83-year-old granny was raped and murdered in her own house on 15 September 2018 in a suspected case of a ritual killing.

‘Masefali Mporoane, of Malealea, was found dead by her nephew Molikeng Mporoane in the morning of 16 September 2018.

Senior Inspector Rantoane Motsoetla from the police public relations office yesterday confirmed the murder. He however, said he did not have the details of the case.

The Sunday Express recently visited the deceased’s homestead and met Mr Mporoane who said his aunt’s body parts appeared to have been harvested as her tongue was missing. He said there were visible signs that she had been raped.

Ms Mporoane was killed a fortnight before the world commemorates the International Day of Older Persons which is celebrated annually on 1 October.

This year’s commemoration will focus on celebrating older persons as pioneers of human rights under the theme ‘Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions’.

The government was represented by the deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s office Leshoboro Mohlajoa accompanied by the police, members of the Lesotho Defense Force (LDF), legislators for Matelile and Maliepetsana.

Their visit followed the minister of Social Development Matebatso Doti’s visit on Tuesday where she also raised her concern over continued killings of women and pledged a coffin for the burial of Ms Mporoane

Yesterday Ms Doti told the Sunday Express that she was devastated by the murder of Ms Mporoane, adding that those who were supposed to take care of her were negligent as they let her live alone in her home which is in a bushy area.

Ms Doti said many elderly women lived in worrying conditions despite their vulnerability.

“There was no one staying with her in that house but it will not be a surprise to find someone coming in to live in that house now that Nkhono (granny) Mporoane has died,” Ms Doti said.

“One wonders why she stayed alone in that environment when at that age she was vulnerable and needed to be cared for at all times.”

Ms Doti said she was saddened that Nkhono Mporoane died just after weeks before the commemoration of the International Day of Older Persons.

“Old people fought and advocated for human rights for everyone but in the end, they never got to enjoy those rights,” Ms Doti said, adding her ministry was in the process of crafting a law to protect elderly people.

The gruesome murder is the latest in the long series of violence and killings of women and children which continue to taint the history of this country.

On 23 July this year, five women were murdered in cold blood in the Ha-Mokauli village, some 25 kilometres south of the capital, Maseru.

At about 6pm on that fateful evening, the sound of gunfire sent the villagers scurrying for cover behind and below anything that could shelter them.

The loud gunshots lasted for about 30 minutes and thereafter there was an eerie silence. When the shocked villagers finally came out of their hiding places, they were met with the gruesome sight of the five bodies of women who had been gunned down in their own homes. Another woman was writhing in pain together with a two-year-old toddler who had a bullet lodged in her arm.

The gunmen had already disappeared without a trace, leaving no explanation for the trail of corpses, blood, orphaned children and broken-hearted families.

Mr Mohapinyane, the village chief, Mokhalinyane Sekhonyane, and the villagers are still at loss as to what could have caused the brutal murders of the women. Some Famo musicians and their followers have been known to engage in deadly conflicts and Chief Sekhonyane said it was possible that the massacres were one of those Famo killings.  He also said these could have been revenge killings after the murder of a male villager a few months ago.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli recently said that no arrests have been made in connection with the murders and the police were still following the leads to find the killers.

In January this year, the Ntširele community in Khubetsoana, Maseru was shocked by the brutal murder of prominent businesswoman ‘Mathabang Radiile (53), allegedly by her live-in partner, Lebohang Nkuebe (41).

Ms Radiile’s four months old grand-daughter was seriously injured after being sprayed with acid in one of the most gruesome cases of women and child abuse in Lesotho.

Mr Nkuebe subsequently appeared in court over the murder and the case is still on-going.

Last year, there were several cases of the killings of women and children that were reported. The violence and killings are part of wider global scourge which the World Bank says affects one in every three women.

In April this year, the World Bank published an article which showed that globally, as many as 38 percent of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner.

The World Bank also reported that 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. It further revealed that seven percent of women have been sexually assaulted by someone else other than their partner.

“One characteristic of Violence against Women and Girls is that it knows no social or economic boundaries: this issue needs to be addressed in both developing and developed countries, and affects women of all socio-economic backgrounds.

“When speaking about violence against women and girls, it is important to remember that this issue involves both men and women and requires a holistic approach. The overwhelming majority of violence is perpetrated by men, and addressing male perpetration is a critical part of addressing the violence,” the World Bank states in its article titled ‘Violence against Women and Girls’.

The World Bank also said it had committed US$150 million in development projects around the world aimed at addressing violence against women and girls.

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