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Thabane vows justice for slain officers


’Marafaele Mohloboli

PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane has promised to pursue justice for the families of Lt-Gen Maaparankoe Mahao, Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko and Police Constable Mokalekale Khetheng who were killed between 2014 and 2016.

Dr Thabane made the pledge yesterday during a memorial event to commemorate the three-year anniversary since Sub-Inspector Ramahloko’s death in Qoaling.

Sub-Inspector Ramahloko was killed during a predawn Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) raid on three Maseru police stations which the military claimed was meant to foil a Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) plan to arm civilians.

The LDF had accused the LMPS of planning to give civilians firearms for use during a Lesotho Congress for Democracy street protest that was scheduled for 1 September 2014.

However, the LMPS has vehemently denied the allegation, with Dr Thabane, who fled the country ahead of the raid, describing the LDF’s special operation as an attempted coup.

No arrests have been made in connection with the raid.

The memorial had started off at Police Headquarters and ended with a procession to Sub-Insp Ramahloko’s Qoaling home.

Among the notable attendees at the memorial was Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki, cabinet ministers and the family of Lt-Gen Mahao.

Lt-Gen Mahao is a former army commander who was shot dead on 25 June 2015 by his former colleagues in Mokema. The LDF claimed that Lt-Gen Mahao was shot after resisting arrest for suspected mutiny.

However, Lt-Gen Mahao’s family has accused the army of killing him in cold blood basing on the account of his nephews who were with him during the incident.

PC Khetheng died under mysterious circumstances after being arrested by his colleagues at a traditional feast in Sebothoane, Leribe on 25 March 2016.

Former Defence minister Tšeliso Mokhosi has been charged with murdering PC Khetheng along with four police officers.

He has since been released on bail while awaiting trial.

Addressing the gathering at Qoaling Highlanders Football ground, Dr Thabane said he would work hard to ensure the killings would come to an end.

“All these atrocities should come to an end. Enough is enough! Let’s put a full stop to all these killings and remember that we are one nation,” he said.

The sentiment was echoed by Acting Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli who vowed to bring Sub-Inspector Ramahloko’s killers to justice.

“I want you to know that all those who killed Ramahloko are going to answer for their actions before the courts of law,” he said.

Acting Commissioner Molibeli said the LMPS was committed to ensure justice was served for all infractions committed.

“Even if we have limited resources, we are determined to bring justice,” he said.

“We are going to try our level best to bring justice to the bereaved families and we are happy to mention that there is a progress in many cases that had stalled in the past.

“We respect human rights and are knowledgeable of the fact that we have erred in some cases and we are going to rectify our mistakes.”

Lt-Gen Mahao’s brother, Nqosa Mahao, said they were satisfied with the government’s handling of their concerns.

“We have learnt with dismay that there are people who are saying the government has shown us the middle finger in giving us justice and it’s not true. So far, we are very happy with this government and are hopeful that we will get justice,” he said.

“Those who are saying those things are being given instructions by the previous regime and I have no doubt that justice will be served.”

Prof Mahao warned Dr Thabane that “some people” in the country’s criminal justice system were aligned to the previous government.

“As long as our criminal justice system is still in the hands of people who are friends with the past government, they will work very hard to deny us justice,” he said.

“We don’t want people who are sympathetic to us, we just want justice.”





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