Army should hand over suspects

The brazen attempts to kill Police Commissioner Khothatso Tsooana and Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s partner, Liabiloe Ramoholi remain as dastardly as they are inhuman.
Indeed this Kingdom united in condemning these acts and praying for the expedited capture of the perpetrators. Such scoundrels should have no place among us.

It is nonetheless discomforting that considerable time has already lapsed since the January 27 2014 bombings of the houses of these two venerable citizens yet the suspects remain at large.
But more discomforting and disheartening is the refusal by the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) high command to let eight soldiers suspected of involvement be interviewed by the police.

We haven’t jettisoned the old age principle that everyone is innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law in relation to these eight soldiers.
But the police have a right to interrogate anyone suspected of involvement in any crime. This includes members of the LDF.
Why should these soldiers be shielded from interrogation if there are reasonable suspicions against them?

The behavior of the LDF thus far raises worrying signs. Under normal circumstances, all segments in the security cluster; the police, army and national intelligence service must of essence work together to repel any security threats. Ultimately only the police command arresting powers over civilians and arraigning them before courts of law. The army’s role is to defend the country against any external and internal threats. Practical realities nevertheless require various arms of the security cluster to work closely to combat crime. This means that if members of the LDF are implicated in crime, they should be subjected to scrutiny.

Yet the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) and the LDF are not only failing this test, but doing so in a most frightening way. Reports that have leaked around the 27 January bombings suggest that projectiles inaccessible to ordinary civilians were used in the bombings against Tsooana and Ramoholi.

The question that becomes inevitable is; Why is the LDF top brass shielding these soldiers from interrogation? What is the reasonable inference to draw from the refusal of these eight to submit themselves for questioning? If they were not involved, what is the problem with them surrendering themselves before the police and stating their case to get exonerated?

The LDF have thus not fared well in its behavior in this whole saga. Even after the issuance of warrants of arrest for the eight, the LDF has not cooperated in ensuring they are brought before the police.
What is now needed is for Prime Minister Thom Thabane, as Minister of Defence, to intervene decisively and help resolve this matter.
Peace and security in any given country, cannot be guaranteed while the two most important arms of the security cluster are at loggerheads.

Lesotho has had its fair share of troubles in the past. The last we need is a recurrence of such. Attempts to resolve differences by killing each other belong to the medieval ages. If those involved had succeeded in their plan to murder Tsoona and Ramoholi , what would have been their next move? We can only wonder.
It has been suggested Thabane himself and not his partner was the target of the bombings.

The other time, it was a group of heavily armed bandits who robbed weaponry from the barracks and proceeded to State House to try and kill former premier Pakalitha Mosisili.
Failure to arrest those responsible for dastardly acts of this nature only embolden those who believe in violence to settle scores. Indiscipline in the security cluster is the very last thing this country needs. The LDF must forthwith surrender its members for interrogation. This matter ought to be thoroughly investigated and the culprits, whoever they are, brought to book.

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