MAFETENG — Another famo artist was shot dead last Sunday night. Lehlohonolo Senone, 24, was fatally shot at his home in Mafeteng by unknown gunmen.
Police suspect he was shot in his sleep because they found bullet holes on his bedroom window.
Senone becomes the eighth famo musician to be murdered in just five months in what police suspect is a vicious famo gang war that has claimed 30 artists since the beginning of the year.
Like Senone, most of the murdered artists are from Mafeteng, a district that has produced some of the country’s most successful famo musicians.
Unconfirmed reports say nearly 100 artists have been murdered in South Africa and Lesotho over the past 12 months.
In July Makhaula Hlakane, another famo artist from the same district, was shot dead as he disembarked from a taxi in Mohale’s Hoek.
Police say the gangs are fighting over markets.
They say the vitriol-filled lyrics in some famo songs could have worsened the feuds between the gangs.
Senone was part of the Seakhi group (a gang of famo artists) that was led by the late Rants’o (Rants’o Makepi) who was also shot dead last October.
Senone was best known for his first album Lerumo which he released in 2004.
Later he released Morena Seoa 1 and 2, which his producers say did well on the market.
At the time of his death he was working on a fourth album.
Senone’s uncle, Ts’eliso Senone, told the Lesotho Times that Senone had just arrived from his base in South Africa to work on the new album.
“He was staying in South Africa where he was still marketing his music.
“He came for rehearsals because he was supposed to start recording his fourth album at the beginning of this week,” Tšeliso said.
He said a few hours before his murder Senone had been rehearsing some of his new songs with his group.
“He was practising with his band members the whole of Sunday afternoon. They (the group) left at 7pm and Senone went to sleep,” he said.
Tšeliso said around 8pm they heard gunshots at Senone’s house.
We found him lying in his bed, dead, he said.
“Outside we found another body of a person we don’t know. He could have been part of the gang that came to kill Lehlohonolo (Senone) because we had never seen him before in this village.”
According to Tšeliso the musician had earlier told some of his relatives that he had been receiving death threats on his phone.
“He said he was receiving text messages from people he didn’t know who were threatening to kill him. He said these people were trailing him.
“He said when he arrived in Lesotho these people started calling him telling him that they were watching him,” Tšeliso said.
Police Inspector Thabang Moiketsi confirmed the incident. “We received a message on Sunday night that a famo artist had been murdered,” Moiketsi said.
“Police found three windows at his house broken.”
He said Senone had a wound on the forehead and just above his left eye.
He said there was also another dead body of an unknown man they believed to be aged around 25.
The man, Moiketsi said, had bruises on his head and face. Most of the famo killings have remained unsolved.
In July Lephats’oa Lebajoa, a popular famo artist who leads a group called Fito, appealed to the government to help stop the killings in the industry.
He said the government had turned a blind eye to the ruthless murders in the music industry.
Lebajoa said he had sought assistance from government ministers to help stop the killings but no action had been taken.
“If the government was working hard enough to solve these problems the numbers of people who are dying would not be accumulating on a daily basis.”