‘We are all frightened’

Lesotho Times
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king and queen at mahao funeral…says His Majesty as he consoles the Mahao family

Keiso Mohloboli

Their Majesties, King Letsie III and Queen ‘Masenate Seeiso Bereng Seeiso, on Tuesday visited the Mahao family at their Koalabata residence to pass their condolences following the killing of former Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander Maaparankoe Mahao.

Brigadier Mahao (47) was gunned down on Thursday last week by LDF members during an operation launched two months ago to arrest and detain soldiers suspected of plotting a mutiny.

He had just left his Mokema Seasonal Harvest Farm with his two nephews at around 14:45 pm when his truck was blocked by three LDF vehicles and subsequently shot, and his body taken away from the scene by his attackers.

Government says Brigadier Mahao—who was demoted from Lieutenant  General and LDF Commander last month  by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili who argued his elevation had been unprocedural—was shot while resisting arrest. The Mahao family has slammed this allegation and called it an attempt to deceive the nation and international community.

Speaking before the deceased’s 85-year-old mother, wife, friends and other members of the Mahao family, His Majesty said he was still “trembling with shock” due to the manner the former army commander died.

“We are still trembling and in great shock about the passing away of Lieutenant  General Mahao. We are indeed speechless and don’t have enough words to console you because we are also going through the same journey of pain.

“It was with great sadness that I learnt of his death. Please accept the deepest of condolences from me and my wife, ‘m’e ‘Masenate, to your family and the people of the Kingdom of Lesotho. We are both out of words to console you because we are in deep fright and shock and also need to be cheered up.

“We are here to assure you that the Mahao family is not alone in mourning this tragedy but with us and the whole nation. We are all frightened and with the Grace of Lord the Almighty, we hope we will know the truth as to why Lieutenant  General Mahao was killed. The truth about his killing would be fitting condolence and will help us all heal, allay our fears and have closure concerning his death.”

The King also guaranteed the Mahao family that he would take the necessary action by providing advice “in order to get to the bottom of why he was killed.

“We will provide advice for an extensive enquiry into his death and hopefully, God will give you strength while awaiting the outcome of this investigation,” His Majesty said.

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