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Unresolved murders cement Lesotho’s reputation as criminal haven

Silence Charumbira

LESOTHO has begun the year with the gruesome, blood-curdling murder of National University of Lesotho (NUL) lecturer, Teboli Makafane.
Mr Makafane’s body was found with multiple stab wounds in his house in Roma. A knife, which was most probably the murder weapon, was still stuck to his body.
The murder is simply the latest in the long line of killings that have catapulted Lesotho to the unenviable position of Africa’s murder capital and sixth overall in the World Population Review rankings for the most murderous countries in 2021.
The law enforcement agencies have proved incompetent in dealing with murders and other serious crimes.
In the few instances that the police have actually arrested suspects, they have been quickly granted bail and the cases have not been finalised by the understaffed and under-resourced High Court.
Police Spokesperson Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli has blamed the force’s apparent incompetence on the lack of resources to fight crime.
“The police may appear incompetent but this is only because there are insufficient resources to fight crime.
“Criminals know that they are always at an advantage as they can kill people and getting away with it. Nonetheless, investigations are ongoing,” Senior Supt Mopeli said yesterday.
Often in most countries when there is a problem of major proportions, the president or prime minister of that country takes the lead and announces a clear and concrete plan to address the challenge.
But as pointed out by NUL lecturers, Paseka Mosia and Mahao Mahao, no such concrete plan of action has come from Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro. This inertia can only lead to more killings as the criminals know fully well that nothing will ever be done to them. (See lead story on Page 2).
In this article, the Sunday Express recounts some of the unresolved murders that continue to be a stain on the national conscience. These represent a tiny sample of the crimes that have gone unpunished.

January 2018, Khubetsoana
businesswoman killed by lover
Prominent Khubetsoana businesswoman ‘Mathabang Radiile (53) was bludgeoned to death by her live-in partner, Lebohang Nkuebe (41). The police did nothing despite that Nkuebe confessed to the crime.
Various community members said they had been dumbfounded by the case and expressed concern at the ever-escalating crimes.
“How can any right-thinking person do such a thing? This man (Nkuebe) is not human. He is a beast and he deserves to be buried alive,” said Mohapi Lerotholi.
Other community members expressed disgust that a man, who had confessed to such a heinous crime, could be shortly afterwards be seen on the streets and in pubs as well as social media after being granted bail.

July 2019: five women gunned down in Rothe, Maseru
Five women were gunned down in the middle of the night by some unknown gunmen at Ha-Mokaoli village in Rothe, Maseru district. It was reported that the gunmen moved from house-to-house, mowing down all they met in the night. By the following morning, at least five women had been killed and another had sustained serious injuries.
At the time, the police said they had launched a manhunt for the gunmen but no arrests have been made to date.

September 2019: murder of ex-police officer, Makoae Moshoeshoe.
The well-known former policeman was gunned down in cold blood in Mantšebo, Maseru by unknown gunmen on 29 September 2019.
The gunmen were said to be after two men working in the illegal mines in South Africa known as the Zama-Zama. According to Moshoeshoe’s widow, ’Maretšelisitsoe Moshoeshoe, the bullets that ended her husband’s life should have been for the two men who were given a lift along with him.
She said the two men were targeted by the killers as part of the wars fought by illegal Basotho miners who operate in South Africa. The illegal miners often fight with fellow illegal miners from other countries and among themselves for whatever gold and other minerals they extract from their illicit activities. The killings often extend into Lesotho and target families as retribution.
Ms Moshoeshoe said the two men knew they were being hunted and probably felt safe around her husband because he had a reputation as a good policeman who was against the Zama-Zama killings.

October 2019: the murder of Nkopane Mokhesi and his four grandchildren
On 24 October 2019, 69-year-old Mr Mokhesi and his four grandchildren were gunned down by unknown gunmen in Ha Molungoa, Maseru.
Senior Supt Mopeli said the deceased’s neighbours had heard gunshots at around 10 pm on the fateful night but did not go out as they feared for their lives. He said it was not known whether the killings could be linked to the Famo music gang rivalries where different Famo factions often attacked each other and spawned revenge killings targeting innocent family members. The killers have not been arrested to this day. They remain unknown.

June 2020: couple shot dead in Ha-Tsolo, Maseru
The Ha-Tsolo, Maseru community was left shell-shocked after a young couple was shot dead in the middle of the night in the presence of their children.
Villagers who spoke at the funeral of the couple, said they had heard gunshots and proceeded to the couple’s house to investigate. But they found the couple already dead.
The killers have not been apprehended to this day.

June 2020: Lerotholi Polytechnic student raped and brutally murdered
Manyai Theoha, a female student at Lerotholi Polytechnic, was gang-raped and murdered in Thabong, Maseru, on 5 June 2020.
Enraged by the horrific incident, the villagers took the law into their own hands the next day and killed two of the men suspected of raping and murdering the student.
Supt Mopeli, confirmed the senseless killing of Ms Theoha. He also confirmed an angry mob had apprehended three suspects the following morning and savagely beat them before setting two of them alight.
He said after the police received a report that the body of a young woman had been discovered in Thabong, they went to the scene of the crime. When they got there, the police managed to rescue the first suspect from a mob which was in the process of meting out instant justice through beating.
Supt Mopeli said two other suspects were later apprehended by the mob and savagely beaten before being set on fire. One was burnt beyond recognition and died on the spot while the other later succumbed to his injuries in hospital. A third suspect was beaten to pulp and was handed to the police. The murder case has not been finalised.

The 2021 police killings
At least 10 police officers were killed in 2021. In just three months from July to September 2021, seven police officers were murdered.
Police Constable (PC) Mokilane Mokete was gunned down in September 2021 in Mapoteng. His murder came barely three days after the brutal killing of PC Selone Selone by unknown gunmen in Butha-Buthe.
Before that another officer, Sergeant Qetelo Letšela, had been gunned down in Mokhotlong.
Sergeant Letšela was said to have been gunned down by 10 members of the Kobo-Kholo Famo group who had abducted him while he was on his way from hospital with his 12-year-old son.
His mutilated body was thrown over a cliff. The main artery at the back of his head had been slit open.
Four out of 10 suspects have so far been arrested in connection with his murder.
These are Sipho Ramoloko, Ntja-peli Ramoloko, Motlalepula Ramoloko all from Khubelu Ha-Motlalepula and Qalanyane Mokotjo of Mangaung, Mokhotlong.
They appeared before Mokhotlong magistrate, Makopano Taole, who remanded them in custody. The case is yet to be finalised.
In October 2021, four soldiers allegedly tortured a police officer to death in Mohale’s Hoek. The officer, PC Relebohile Mokone, was tortured along with five civilians. His family is now demanding a whooping M12 million in damages from Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) commander, Lieutenant General (Lt-Gen) Mojalefa Letsoela.

November 2021: French pastor Francois Snyman gunned down in Semonkong
French pastor, Francois Snyman, was gunned down at his Semonkong home in November 2021.
Mr Snyman was shot dead in front of his wife and children during a robbery by unknown assailants. The killers took off with an undisclosed amount of money and some valuables. The two masked gun-toting assailants broke into the house while Mr Snyman, his wife, Mariette, and their four children were watching television.
They then demanded money and mobile phones. The family handed over an undisclosed amount of cash, four mobile phones and a laptop. The robbers then shot Mr Snyman several times before fleeing into the night. He was pronounced dead on arrival at a nearby clinic.
Mr Snyman, who was a pastor at Love Lesotho Ministries Church, had relocated to Lesotho in 2011.

1 Comment
  1. Masoebe says

    Lesotho ke liheleng, re busoa ke bo mautla

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