FOUR Lerotholi Polytechnic students appeared before the Maseru Magistrate’s Court on Monday this week charged with two counts of murder.
The students — Abiel Mokete (19) from Le-Coop in Mafeteng, Refiloe Mohale (21) from Wepner also in Mafeteng, Moloi Makoanyane (20) from Baroeng in Butha-Buthe and Tseko Sebata (23) from Likhutlong — are accused of killing fellow learners Tokelo Masiea (19) and Motlatsi Matete (20) two weeks ago.
Both Masiea and Matete were residents of Mafeteng and first-year students at Lerotholi Polytechnic, widely known as Fokothi. It is alleged their deaths were the result of an initiation ritual gone horribly wrong.
In the first count, the four students are charged with brutally killing Masiea. The charge sheet reads: “About 23 July 2014, the accused, being students of Lerotholi Polytechnic, did unlawfully and intentionally, kill one Tokelo Masiea, aged 19 years, by suffocating him with water in the Mohokare River.”
The second charge, pertaining to the death of Matete, is similar to that relating to Masiea.
Meanwhile, Magistrate Lerato Ntelane remanded the four accused students in custody after informing them of their constitutional right to legal representation and bail-application.
However, Ms Ntelane told the accused learners that they could only apply for bail in the High Court because the magistrate’s court does not have the powers to hear bail-applications pertaining to murder cases.
The four students, who did not indicate their intention to apply for bail, will appear before the Maseru Magistrate’s Court again on 2 September 2014.