A NATIONAL University of Lesotho (NUL) student has dragged Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli to court claiming M200 000 compensation for the assault she says she endured at the hands of the police in June 2022.
In her court papers, Mohanuoa Mochaki of Ha Pita Maseru says she was brutally assaulted by five Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) officers during the 16 June 2022 student protests against the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS)’s decision to cut their monthly stipends by half.
Commissioner Molibeli and the Attorney General Rapelang Motsieloa are the first and second respondents respectively.
Another student, Kopano Makutoane, was shot dead by police while several others were injured in the skirmishes. His family has since filed a whooping M4 million lawsuit against Commissioner Molibeli.
A third student, Thaela Lethea of Ha-Tšosane Maseru, is also demanding M550 000 compensation after he was allegedly assaulted by police during the same strike.
In her application, Ms Mochaki submits that she was assaulted by police at Mafikeng near the NUL Roma campus where she resides.
She says that she was not part of the protests.
“On the said date, the National University of Lesotho students were on strike but I was not part of it.”
Ms Mochaki further avers that she was brutally assaulted by five police officers as she walked from the university to her Mafikeng residence.
She says that due to the assault, she is claiming M150 000 for pain and suffering and M50 000 for contumelia.
“I was assaulted mercilessly by five police officers who hit me several times with guns on my chest and forehead. They also kicked me all over my body including buttocks and left arm. I was further assaulted with sticks.
“One of the police officers insulted me and spat on my face. As a result of the unlawful assaults, the plaintiff has suffered damages in the amount of M150,000 for pain and suffering and M50,000 contumelia and holds the defendant (Molibeli) liable,” says Ms Mochaki referring to herself in third person in her court papers.
The lawsuits are part of a long list against Commissioner Molibeli for torture and other acts of brutality by his subordinates.
The police boss was recently sued by one Lethoko Lethoko of Mohale’s Hoek. Mr Lethoko wants M250 000 for torture, wrongful arrest and destruction of his property by police.
In his court papers, Mr Lethoko alleges that police officers stormed his house on 24 March 2022 and destroyed his property. They also tortured him and unlawfully arrested him. He however, does not say what he was arrested for.
Commissioner Molibeli has also been sued by a Mafeteng man, Thato Malibeng, who was allegedly tortured by police officers in September 2020.
Mr Malibeng alleges that he was tortured by Mafeteng police officers and released from their custody without being charged with any crime.
In August 2022, a Mazenod woman, Matšeliso Molise, sued Commissioner Molibeli for a whopping M8 million. The damages claim is for the alleged torture and killing of her son, Thabiso Molise, by Mazenod Flight One police officers in 2020.
In October 2021, two civilians, Lejone Mepha of Leribe and Zibi Nkonyana of Maseru filed separate lawsuits demanding M1 million and M500 000 respectively from Commissioner Molibeli for torture and wrongful arrest.