News Without Fear or Favour

Leribe murder victim identified

  • victim’s father laments brutal killing
  • says daughter was a defenceless woman who was killed like an animal

’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE dismembered body parts of a woman that were discovered last Wednesday in a bushy area in Kholokoe, Leribe, have been identified as belonging to ‘Makhutlang Lesekele (nee ‘Maleshoane Tukula).

Ms Tukula’s father, Paki Tukula, this week told the Lesotho Times that the family went to Maputsoe Police Station where they were referred to the Lesotho Funeral Services mortuary in the same town.

It is there that they positively identified his daughter through the rose tattoo on her right leg. The 25-year-old ‘Maleshoane is survived by her South African based husband and two daughters aged nine and 10 respectively.

The discovery of his daughter is only the beginning of the 57-year-old Mr Tukula’s nightmare. He spoke of his hurt and struggle to come to terms with the brutal murder of his only daughter.

He is not alone in struggling for answers. The nation reacted with shock and horror when Maleshoane’s remains were discovered by young herd boys in Kholokoe on Wednesday.

The shocked herdboys initially discovered Maleshoane’s right leg that appeared to have been freshly severed from the rest of her body.

Police investigators later conducted a search and discovered two arms that had been severed from the collarbone. They also discovered the other leg and a thigh that had also been severed from the rest of the body. The rest of the body parts, including the head, have still not been found.

“As it is, we can’t even say whether this is just another random barbaric killing of a vulnerable woman or a ritual murder,” police spokesperson Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said of the grisly find over the weekend.

According to Mr Tukula, his daughter and her husband were no longer living together after the latter trekked to South Africa in search of employment early this year.

He has not returned to Lesotho after the two countries’ borders were closed back in March as part of efforts to stop the spread of the deadly Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Mr Tukula said left alone with their children, his daughter soon left her matrimonial home in Ha ’Makhoroana, Berea to look for a job in the industrial town of Maputsoe.

It appears she still had not secured employment when her life was tragically and brutally ended last week.

“Maleshoane was my only daughter and she was a bubbly soul,” said Mr Tukula.

“She was talkative and very humorous. I wonder what she had done to have died such a painful death. I just don’t understand and nothing really makes sense and nothing will ever justify the way she was killed.

“Whoever killed my daughter is very heartless. She was married though I have learnt that she was involved in a relationship with someone else. The same guy could have butchered her to death. I don’t know what to believe anymore as I have always known her to be a good girl.”

Mr Tukula said he only got to know about his daughter’s murder from her sister in law who visited him in Bokong, Thaba Tseka on Friday.

“Upon arrival she had asked me whether Maleshoane had changed her mobile phone number and I said I didn’t think so as we had spoken to each other earlier in the day last Wednesday. But then again, I recalled that the following day on Thursday, I had tried calling her but she was not reachable on her phone the whole day.

“Immediately she (daughter in law) came over to where I was seated and showed me a gruesome picture in her mobile phone. It was a shocker because it was my daughter’s leg. I could immediately tell from the tattoo and besides that, I knew Maleshoane so well and therefore I could never be wrong.

“But it all didn’t make sense. What had happened? I couldn’t understand what was happening,” Mr Tukula told this publication.

He said they made contact with the Maputsoe police and they were asked to report to the station on Saturday.

He said they were referred to the mortuary where their nightmare was confirmed.

“Maleshoane is no more. I’m left with so many questions. I am trying to make peace with what has happened and I believe that God has His way of doing things and He is never wrong.

“His decisions cannot be questioned. I don’t have time to dwell on my anger.  All that I need now is to find my daughter’s missing parts and bury her. Maybe that way we can get closure.”

He said the Tukula and Lesekele families have agreed to give police investigations a chance to search for Maleshoane’s missing body parts before deciding on her funeral date.

Supt Mopeli said the search was on-going and the police were confident of nabbing the culprits.

“We already have leads and we are hopeful that someone will soon be behind bars for this gruesome murder,” Supt Mopeli said this week.

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