…eight others injured in skirmishes with Islamic rebels
A LESOTHO Defence Force (LDF) soldier has been shot dead by suspected Islamic rebels in Mozambique.
Eight other LDF soldiers were injured in the fighting. They are said to be in a stable condition in hospital in Mozambique.
The deceased soldier was part of LDF troops deployed to Mozambique as part of a SADC force to help that country in its fight against Islamic insurgents. He is the first LDF member to die in combat in Mozambique after he was shot at the weekend. Two other LDF soldiers deployed in Mozambique have died due to non-combat causes.
Defence and National Security Minister, Halebonoe Setšabi, confirmed the death of the soldier in an interview this week. He however, refused to identify the slain soldier, saying this and other details would be revealed as soon as investigations had been completed.
“What I can only say for now is that we have a causality in Mozambique,” Mr Setšabi said.
“The incident happened on Saturday. However, the full report of what really transpired will be released once investigations have been completed.”
Mr Setšabi said the deceased soldier’s family had already been notified. He added that the body would be flown to Lesotho as soon as a post mortem had been concluded.
Communications, Science and Technology Minister, Samuel Rapapa also confirmed the death of the soldier and the wounding of eight others.
“The Minister of Defence (Setšabi) has informed the government that the LDF has lost one soldier in a confrontation with the rebels in Mozambique. Eight other soldiers were injured. The eight are in a stable condition and under medical attention. The government passes its condolences to the family of the late warrior,” said Mr Rapapa, who doubles up as the government spokesperson.
The weekend shooting of the soldier brings to three, the number of LDF officers who have lost their lives in Mozambique. Commando Private Moalosi Khoaele was the first to die when he succumbed to malaria last November.
Another LDF soldier, Commando Corporal Lebohang Mofoka, was killed in a road accident on 22 July this year. He died after the vehicle he was travelling in rammed into an electric pole and rolled over several times.
A total of 125 LDF soldiers were first deployed to Mozambique in August 2021 as part of a SADC initiative to assist the Mozambican government in the fight against Islamic terrorists in the northern parts of the country. They were replaced by another LDF contingent earlier this year.
The Islamic insurgency, which broke out in the northern province of Cabo Delgado in 2017, has claimed thousands of lives and displaced many others. Apart from SADC countries, the east African nation of Rwanda has also contributed troops to the fight against the terrorists.