. . Police summon eight soldiers over bombings
By Billy Ntaote and Keiso Mohloboli
MASERU –– The Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) has summoned eight Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) soldiers to appear before the office of the Commissioner of Police as part of investigations into the bombings of three Maseru homes on 27 January this year.
The soldiers — a Corporal, Lance Corporal, two Majors, two Second Lieutenants, a Captain, and Brigadier — were supposed to start reporting to Police Headquarters on Tuesday this week, with the last expected to submit for interrogation next Tuesday.
The request is contained in a letter written on 14 April 2014 by Police Commissioner Khothatso Tšooana to the LDF commander, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, and states the dates and times on which the soldiers are supposed to be at Police Headquarters.
Police spokesperson Senior Inspector Lebona Mohloboli last night confirmed Tšooana had written and sent the letter to Kamoli requesting assistance in the investigations, adding the probe is now at a “critical stage.”
“We actually have a press release we could give you if it was not this late, as I am not at the office. In that press release, we confirm that there was a letter written to the army as we have realised the confusion caused by a leaked letter that is now circulating on the internet.
“We are unaware who could have leaked the letter and uploaded it on the internet,” Mohloboli said.
According to the letter, Tšooana requested Komoli’s assistance in investigating the bombings that took place at his residence in Ha Abia and at the Moshoeshoe II homes of Liabiloe Ramoholi, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s partner, and her neighbour, ‘Mamoletsane Moletsane.
But the LDF questioned the authenticity of the letter yesterday, saying General Mohloboli had not seen it.
The disputed letter from Tšooana to Komoli partly reads: “The office of the Commissioner of Police is investigating crimes of bombings that occurred around the 27th January 2014 on three families viz Ha-Abia, and Moshoeshoe II. Your office is therefore requested to provide the office of the Police Commissioner with the following information to facilitate the administration of justice:
1. Record of purchase/acquisition of your RD 40mm HE M848. This should include the date of acquisition, place and name of company and quantity supplied and received by your office.
2. Record of dispatch of your RD 40mm HE M848 from your armoury. This should include dates of dispatch, details of issuer and receiver and the purpose of such dispatch.
3. Your report which entails invoices from the supplier and copies of dispatch from armoury should cover the periods from 1993 to
In addition to the records above, you are required to release and direct the following eight officers (names withheld) under your command to report before the office of the Commissioner of Police on the dates opposite their names.
Your cooperation will be highly appreciated and your response in regard to the acquisition of the RD 40mm HE M848 (grenades made in South Africa) is expected before Friday 18/04/14.”
The Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) spokesperson, Major Ntlele Ntoi, last night said such a letter widely circulated on the internet cannot be taken seriously.
“On a daily basis, there is correspondence from the police to the army and vice-versa.
“However, we can’t say that what was circulated on the internet is a copy of or a result of correspondence between the police and the army,” Ntoi said.
Major Ntoi said there had been many versions of the letter “purported to have been written by Tšooana to Kamoli” since early yesterday. He attributed the letter to an unnamed “certain man” he accused of trying to foment discord in the security cluster and destabilise the country.
In a lengthy statement which chronicles “fictitious allegations spread by this “certain man on a campaign to tarnish the image of the army”, Ntoi strongly advised “this man” to desist from spreading “falsehoods” or face the consequences of his actions.
“If this insurgent causes instability in this country as a result of his falsehoods, he will be held accountable, together with his companions, for the rest of their lives.
“He should stop, with immediate effect, from inventing thoughts and pictures of an imaginary ghost army he is always hallucinating to be attacking all the time.
“Today, we saw on the internet, news that perpetuates a fabricated smear campaign against the army, intended to relate us to the bombing attacks of January 2014. To our knowledge of news by this insurgent, this is just the beginning, more is still coming.”
Ntoi declined to name the man.
However, the fact that the LMPS has confirmed writing to the LDF commander exemplifies the ructions in the security cluster and further heightens suspicions that some within the army might indeed have been behind the plot to kill Tšooana. It has also been speculated that the conspirators were also targeting to murder Prime Minister Thabane, believing that he was in his partner’s residence.
Kamoli, on his part, denied receiving the letter from Tšooana.
“The letter is all over the internet and I have not received it as it is alleged to have been addressed to me,” Kamoli told the Lesotho Times in an interview last night.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Police, Refiloe Matekane, said investigations into the bombings had not yet been completed.
Matekane seemed to confirm the letter to the LDF saying “the letter was part of on-going investigations by the LMPS into the bombings”.
Matekane nevertheless declined to give more details, referring further questions on the case to police spokesperson Mohloboli.
“Every Mosotho will know about the findings of the inquest when the investigation is complete,” said Matekane. Meanwhile, due to the disagreement over the letter, none of the soldiers summoned by the police turned up at police headquarters from Tuesday as expected.
Lesotho was rattled by the bombings on the homes of Tšooana, Ramoholi and Moletsane in January. The culprits behind the heinous acts are yet to be apprehended despite the investigations underway in which the South African Police Service and the FBI based in Johannesburg have been roped in.
Speculation has been rife that disgruntled persona, unhappy with Tšooana’s rapid rise to the apex of the LMPS might have been involved. It is also believed that Thabane could have been the main target.