A LESOTHO Defence Force (LDF) officer who recently shot and wounded a fellow soldier at Ha Ratjomose Barracks on Thursday afternoon has been remanded in custody after appearing in court on Friday.
Police Spokesperson Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said the officer, who he only identified as Corporal Seelane, briefly appeared before the Magistrates’ Court on Friday and he was remanded in custody.
“Corporal Seelane was remanded in custody on Friday after appearing in court following the shooting incident at Ha Ratjomose Barracks where he shot Sergeant Masupha Majara,” Supt Mopeli said yesterday.
The 43 year-old Corporal Seelane shot his Sergeant Majara on the shoulder between 1 and 2 pm on Thursday.
LDF Public Affairs Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Mashili Mashili, yesterday told the Sunday Express that there were ongoing police investigations into the shooting incident.
“The two soldiers had a quarrel which resulted in a corporal shooting a Sgt.
“I will not specify what wounds were sustained by the Sgt because I have not received a medical report to confirm the claims but it is alleged that he sustained three or four wounds on the shoulder,” Lt-Col Mashili said.
“Immediately after the shooting, the Corporal handed himself over to the Military Police and submitted his personal firearm, a 9mm pistol and its ammunition. The LDF Command reported the incident to Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) and the Corporal was handed over to the police on the same day,” Lt-Col Mashili added.
He further said that Sergeant Majara Sgt was admitted to Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital in Maseru and he was in a stable condition.
However, sources close to the matter said that the duo had quarrelled before the shooting incident. The quarrel reportedly ensured from Corporal Seelane’s refusal to salute Sgt Masupha who is his superior in terms of rank. Corporal Seelane refused to salute Sgt Masupha on grounds that he (Corporal Seelane) had been in the army for a much longer period than Sgt Masupha.
“Corporal Seelane joined the LDF before Sgt Majara but the LDF Regulations are clear that it is a serious offence for a junior not to give compliments to a senior, a source said, adding, “This is a punishable offence and every LDF member knows that”.
“It doesn’t matter whether the Corporal joined the LDF before the Sergeant. Officers can still be bypassed in terms of rank by those who joined the army after them and this is something that happens all the time. It is not a matter of age or how long one has been in the army. If one is a junior, they should give military compliments to their seniors,” another source added.