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Soldiers face murder charges

Tefo Tefo

THREE Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) officers on Friday appeared before the Maseru Magistrates’ Court on charges of murder, attempted murder and malicious damage to property in relation to incidents that occurred in 2015.

Captain Litekanyo Nyakane (38), Sengapha Kolotsane (27) and Sele Mohobela (27) allegedly shot and killed Mohau Qobete, who was a security guard stationed at the Ministry of Education and Training offices in Maseru on 1 February 2015.

The trio were part of the LDF soldiers who exchanged fire with the former body guards of Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane, during the first coalition government in 2015.

The shooting incident occurred near the Royal Palace but Mr Qobete who was guarding the nearby Ministry of Education complex was caught up in the crossfire and lost his life.

Major Mojalefa Lawrence Mosakeng, Corporal Ngoliso Majara and one Halemakale Makhakhe were injured in the same shooting incident.

The three soldiers are further charged with malicious damage to property after damaging the Toyota Quantum; Toyota Etios, Suzuki Jimny, Toyota Avanza and a Peugeot vehicles. Several buildings including the Ministry of Education headquarters, Metropolitan Lesotho, Lesotho Revenue Authority and the British Library were also damaged in the process.

Captain Nyakane, who is the first accused, is also charged in other cases that occurred during the previous regime of former Prime Minister, Pakalitha Mosisili, which lost power in the 3 June 2017 snap elections.

Among other charges, Captain Nyakane is also charged with the murder of former army commander, Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao, on 25 June 2015.

He is also facing a mutiny charge before the Court-Martial, in relation to the killing of the former army commander, Lieutenant General Khoantle Motšomotšo on 25 September 2017 at Ratjomose Barracks in Maseru.

Magistrate ‘Mamorojele Qoo remanded the trio in custody after advising them to apply for bail before the High Court.

Ms Qoo ordered them to appear again before the court on remand on 9 March 2018.

In a separate case, a member of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) Khantša Motloli (37), two soldiers, Tebello Tau (37) and Letholetseng Lekhoaba (41), and an intelligence officer, Patu Tšita (35) briefly appeared before the Magistrate’s Court last Friday on charges of contravening provisions of the Penal Code Act of 2010. They are accused of forcefully taking one, Nkuebe Moroele, to the Maseru Industrial Area and Ha-Thetsane, next to Water and Sewage Company (WASCO) sewage dams where they assaulted him.

The abduction and assault occurred between in January 2017.

Magistrate, Nthabiseng Moopisa, released them on M500 bail and they are expected to appear again in court on 5 March 2018.

In another case, an LMPS officer, Rethabile Sehloho (43) from Ha-Ratjomose, two LDF soldiers, Tebello Tau (37) from Mazenod and Letholetseng Lekhoaba (41) from Semphetenyane, as well as two intelligence officers, Mpoka Mapetla (36) from Masianokeng and Sehloho Thebele (48) from Mahlatsa, briefly appeared before the same court on Friday.

They were charged with kidnapping Mohato Seleke and Lina Moeti from their homes in Naleli and taking them to an “unknown dwelling in Ha-Ramabanta” on 25 February 2015.

They are also accused of assaulting the duo with AK 47 rifles and causing “serious bodily harm” in the process.

They also face a count of malicious damage to property for allegedly “cutting padlocks at the gate with a bolt cutter and broke some windows” belonging to the duo.

They were each released on a M700 bail and remanded to 5 March 2018.

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