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Three villagers die after clashes over pasture

 

’Mantoetse Maama

A LONGSTANDING feud over pasture ended in the death of three Matsieng villagers last weekend.

According to the District Commanding Officer for Maseru Rural, Senior Superintendent Mofokeng Kolo, the tragic chain of events started on Saturday after a 30-year-old man from Folene was found dead on a disputed piece of land in Matsieng.

“The body had open wounds, which suggested these could have been the cause of his death. Police’s preliminary investigations revealed that the man was attacked for grazing his livestock on land that Ha Nthethe villagers claim belongs to them,” said Senior Superintendent Kolo.

“The following day, Folene residents went to Ha Nthethe, as their fellow villager had been attacked there. But when they arrived in Ha Nthethe, there was a fight and two men aged 50 and 53, were also killed.”

Senior Superintendent Kolo further said Ha Nthethe and Folene residents had previously clashed over that piece of land which is between the two villages and the matter was reported to the Chief of Matsieng.

“The two sets of villagers had previously clashed over that piece of land and the matter was reported to the Chief of Matsieng,” he said.

“The chief asked the feuding parties to share the land in question while he tried to resolve the matter, but still, they continued to fight over it.

“Over the past few weeks, Ha Nthethe villagers confiscated livestock belonging to their Folene counterparts and refused to release them, claiming they were eating their pasture which had been reserved for future use.

“In retaliation, Folene villagers also seized livestock belonging to Ha Nthethe villagers with similar claims that the animals were being grazed on their land.

“So this fight over pasture has been going on for some time, but it took a tragic turn last weekend.”

He said the police are still investigating the issue and no arrests had been made, adding that a similar tragedy took place on Tuesday in Thaba-Bosiu where a 29-year-old man was also killed following a dispute over pasture.

Senior Superintendent Kolo said: “Clashes over pasture seem to be on the increase and, unfortunately, they are leading to bloodshed.

“Our plea, as the police, is that chiefs should talk to community members to engage in dialogue over such issues and never to resort to violence as perpetrators of these crimes will be arrested and brought before the courts.”

 

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