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Shocked villagers narrate shooting of PM’s wife


Bereng Mpaki

VILLAGERS in Ha Masana, the scene of the fatal shooting of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s estranged wife, Lipolelo Thabane say the incident has left them shocked, confused and fearing for their safety as fresh details emerged about the shooting.

Ms Thabane (58) was shot dead between 6pm and 7pm on Wednesday while traveling in her vehicle with a female companion who sustained serious injuries.

Yesterday, the Sunday Express visited the scene of the shooting and heard from villagers that the suspected killer was first seen buying a cigarette and a stock sweet at one of the stalls in the area after alighting from a vehicle which dropped him off about two hundred meters away from the crime scene.

Those who saw the suspect said they noticed a bulge in his clothes which is similar to that which can be observed when one is concealing a gun underneath. The man briefly spoke on his mobile phone as he walked away from the stall, where he even forgot to collect his change.

He is said to have walked towards an unused shack along the dirt road leading to Ms Thabane’s house. It is believed that this is where he lurked in ambush as he awaited his target.

Four or five gunshots were heard a few minutes afterwards and Ms Thabane’s neighbours said the gunshots were followed by the scuttling sound of her car as it veered off the road into a nearby field.

“When we arrived at the scene and it was evident that Ms Thabane had died while her companion had crept out of the vehicle to hide underneath,” one of the neighbours said, adding, “The killer fired more shots as he fled on foot”.

“The police found us at the scene of the crime.”

“Since the incident took place, I am no longer able to sleep at night fearing that the killers may come for me. I am no longer at ease because I do not feel safe anymore,” said an elderly woman who refused to reveal her identity.

The woman said she was shocked by Ms Thabane’s death as it came in the wake of an incident on Monday night in which four unknown persons were spotted near her house and one of them attempted to force his way in.

The attempt to break-in was foiled by neighbours and the community policing brigade who swiftly responded to the house maid’s screams for help. The four ran away.

“The next morning after the Monday incident, Ms Thabane drove past my house waving her at all the people in the area presumably as a sign of gratitude for the help she had received the night before.

“She was a good neighbour who never passed by my house without greeting or waving,” the woman said.

Another villager, a middle aged man about 40 years old, said he had stopped staying out after sunset due to safety concerns.

“I used to hang out with other men at a local drinking spot late into the night but since the shooting I no longer feel safe to walk around at night,” the man said.

Another middle-aged woman who works at the textile factories said the area used to be one of the safest neighborhoods around but things would no longer be the same.

“I pass by the scene every morning and night to and from work and I fear for my life. To make matters worse, the public transport system is unreliable to a point where passengers get home very late,” said

“I hope the perpetrators of this heinous crime will be apprehended as soon as possible so that we can be at ease. We feel this can happen again as long as the perpetrators are out there walking free.”

The murder of Ms Thabane happened less than forty eight hours before the inauguration of her estranged husband as Lesotho’s Prime Minister on Friday.

In his inauguration speech, Dr Thabane spoke of the need to capacitate the police in order to bring perpetrators of crime to book.

“The main challenge for me is to ensure that the police service is not excluded in the security sector reforms to empower them and capacitate them to execute their duties properly and professionally, and to ensure justice takes its course its course on the perpetrators,” Dr Thabane said on Friday.

Meanwhile, police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Clifford Molefe yesterday said no arrests had been made in connection with the killing.

“Our investigations are on-going at the moment but no one has been arrested in connection with the incident as yet,” Senior Supt Clifford Molefe told this publication.



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