Two killed in grazing dispute

MASERU – A defiant villager shot dead two men who tried to stop him from grazing his cattle in a prohibited area in Ha-Ramabanta last week.

Police say the 34-year-old villager handed himself to authorities after the murder and surrendered a licensed 7.65mm gun that he allegedly used in committing the crime.

Twelve unused bullets were confiscated.

It is said the local chief, Ntaote Letsie, had barred people from grazing their cattle in a reserved piece of land.

But the suspect would have none of it and forced his way into the reserved pastures.

Upon being confronted by two men protecting the land, he pulled out a gun and shot them.

Police spokesman Senior Inspector Masupha Masupha said they were worried by the increasing cases of misuse of licensed firearms.

“In this case the man unnecessarily shot people who were trying to get him into line. He had made himself a nuisance by not obeying the orders of the village elders. He did not have to shoot them,” Masupha said on Monday.

Meanwhile, a 32-year-old man was last week found dead in Thaba-Tseka.

Police suspect the man could have been killed by members of a local vigilante group formed to safeguard livestock.

“It looked like he had been beaten with lebetlela sticks and whips. He could have been beaten by the village men who suspected him of being a stock thief. Police are continuing with investigations,” Masupha said.

He warned that people taking the law into their own hands would be prosecuted.

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