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Bakery boss kidnapped, shot dead

by Lesotho Times

MASERU — The managing director of Sun Bakery, Thabo Phohleli, was shot dead a few hours after he was kidnapped from his home by armed gunmen on Sunday.

Phohleli, 40, was seized by three men as he opened his gate at his home in Ha-Tsolo, south-west of Maseru, at around 4pm.

The gunmen handcuffed Phohleli before speeding away towards Mohokare river in his car.

His lifeless body was found about an hour later with a bullet wound on the forehead.

Acting police spokesman Lekhotla Mokete confirmed the murder adding that investigations were in progress.

Neighbours who spoke to the Lesotho Times said the kidnapping happened in full view of patrons who were at a nearby public bar.

Phohleli’s brother Lebohang said the neighbours thought the kidnappers were plain clothes police officers who were arresting him.

He said one of the neighbours became suspicious from the violent manner they were effecting the ‘arrest’ and phoned Phohleli’s wife, ’Mapulane.

The kidnappers sped off towards Linakotseng, a village south of Ha-Tsolo.

“I received a phone call from his wife telling me that he had been kidnapped,” Lebohang said on Tuesday.

“We immediately drove in the direction where the kidnappers were said to have taken him until we reached the (Phuthiatsana) river bank where we found his body.”

When the police arrived at the river they found his car abandoned along the river bank.

Phohleli’s body was found lying near the banks of the river.

When the Lesotho Times visited the bereaved family’s home on Tuesday, Phohleli’s wife was weeping uncontrollably as friends and relatives tried to comfort her.

Phohleli’s burial has been set for Saturday, according to a family spokesman.

Phohleli was the managing director of Sun Bakery, formerly known as Astoria Bakery.

Before joining Astoria Bakery, Phohleli was the food and beverages manager at Lesotho Sun Hotel.

He held qualifications in hotel management from a London college.

Phohleli was also a board member of the Lesotho Revenue Authority and the Lesotho Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He leaves behind a wife and two children.

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