MASERU – A 27-year-old man has owned up to murder, rape and housebreaking cases the police have been battling to crack for the past two years.
Mongali Maliehe was not even on the police’s wanted list when he walked into Lithoteng Police Station last week to confess criminal activities he blamed on mystical powers.
Maliehe told the police that he had decided to confess after clashing with his traditional healer whose ‘muti’ he said had helped him avoid arrest.
Maliehe confessed to two murder cases, rape and four housebreaking cases.
The murders took place in Ha-Seleso in southern Maseru.
In one case which the police at that time suspected to be a ritual murder, a 16-year-old girl was found dead with stab wounds and her tongue missing.
Investigations also revealed that she had also been raped.
A taxi driver and his helper were arrested but later released due to lack of evidence.
In another case a man was found dead in the same area. He also had stab wounds.
And for the past two years the police have been battling to make a breakthrough in their investigations of the two gruesome murders.
But the mystery was finally solved when Maliehe walked into the police station last Thursday.
He told the police that he had decided to confess because his deal with his traditional doctor had turned sour.
They started quarrelling after the doctor approached Maliehe to renew their ‘agreement’ for the supply of ‘muti’ which was supposed to ‘protect’ him from arrest.
Maliehe said when he refused to renew the ‘contract’ the healer and his friends started attacking him.
He said the traditional doctor had also benefited through body parts from one of the murders.
Sergeant Mosoaboli Mohlomi said Maliehe went to the police asking for protection from ‘neighbours’ whom he said were attacking him.
Mohlomi said when the police probed him further he revealed that it was actually his traditional healer and his friends who were attacking him.
“It was found that the villagers he was referring to were the doctor and other men who ran away when they heard that he had called the police,” Mohlomi said.
“It was then that he started confessing. He confessed to the committal of two murders and the sexual offence,” said Mohlomi.
Apart from the murders and rape Maliehe also confessed to four cases of housebreaking.
“He led the police to where the stolen properties were and where he alleged to have murdered the people,” he said.
Mohlomi however did not give details as to how Maliehe committed the crimes and the people he was with.
The Lesotho Times, however, has found that at least three people are in police custody after Maliehe’s confession.
Maliehe together with his traditional doctor and his wife were arrested.
It is understood that seven other suspects are wanted by the police in connection with the crimes that Maliehe confessed to.
A close source within the Lithoteng police told this paper that Maliehe claimed that his doctor practised divination and had powers to make people fall into a deep sleep so that he could break into their house and steal.
Maliehe allegedly said the magical powers had expired and the doctor wanted him to renew them but he refused.
He purportedly complained that the doctor and his friends used him to steal and commit the crimes but he got only a meagre share of the loot.
Some Seleso villagers recovered their property after Maliehe gave detailed descriptions on where they could find them.
Many of these villagers wanted to comment on the basis of anonymity because they felt that mentioning their names might lead to them being called to testify in court, which they did not want.
However, Maliehe’s relatives who did not want to be named said they did not suspect that he was a criminal.
They said they could not believe that he was the one responsible for the crimes because he was not known as a criminal.
“He was just like other boys in the village,” said an old man who also claimed to be Maliehe’s relative.
“I know the case of a girl who was found dead and raped and culprits were arrested and they had nothing to do with this boy,” he said.