VIOLENCE reared its ugly head again in Mafeteng when a 36-year-old famo musician (Mokhakhi ‘Roba’ Malefane) from the Seakhi faction was on Friday evening shot dead while his 31-year-old wife remains critical in hospital.
According to the police, four men from a rival famo gang allegedly broke into the couple’s Thabana-Morena house through a window and shot the husband and wife but left their two young children unharmed.
Police spokesperson Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said the man died on the spot while the wife sustained serious injuries and is being treated in hospital.
“After the shooting, the suspects also took M780, shoes, trousers, blankets and cellphones and fled from the scene,” Supt Mopeli said.
“The suspicion is that the attack is part of the famo fights.”
Supt Mopeli said the suspects are still on the run, therefore called on the public to provide information which could lead to their arrest.
He further appealed to the public in general to desist from engaging in criminal activities which he said often have bitter consequences.
“One would wonder what people reap from killing others. Most perpetrators never live in peace after committing such crimes as they are always in hiding or on the run.
“These killings steal their peace and freedom as some do not even want to see a police vehicle passing.”
Lesotho’s past has been riddled with famo gang violence and killings since the early 2000s and the government, the police and the civil society organisations (CSOs) have on multiple occasions made interventions to stop the violence to no avail.
In 2017 the government and legislators from Mafeteng held public gatherings in the district which has recorded 63 killings since 2017 to condemn the practice.
In September 2017 CSOs also joined the Ribaneng community in Mafeteng to pray for an end to famo-related killings but nothing has changed.
The prayer ceremony included the Ribaneng Roman Catholic Church, the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL), Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and the Lesotho Mounted Polices Service (LMPS). Also present was the Maliepetsana Constituency legislator, Mpalipali Molefe.
Last September, the police banned mourners from wearing the regalia associated with famo music at funerals. The police further said they would closely monitor funerals of victims of famo-related deaths as part of measures to ensure peace and prevent an escalation of famo-related conflicts.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Mofokeng Kolo announced the new measures at a September 2018 public gathering in Mafeteng.
ACP Kolo noted that there had been numerous deaths that stemmed from clashes between different famo factions. He said it was therefore important to come up with ways of curbing the deaths and this included banning mourners from wearing the regalia associated with famo music at funerals.
Mourners have also been barred from conducting other rituals they normally conduct at such funerals including firing their guns into the air and mock battles with their fighting sticks.
Some of the regalia which the mourners have been banned from donning at funerals include the blankets. The Matlama blankets of various colours are usually worn by the Seakhi faction while the Terene faction often wear the black and yellow Seana-marena blanket.