A BIRTHDAY party for a 22-year old Ha-Seleso woman in Maseru ended in horror in the wee hours of Sunday after a hand grenade was thrown into her one-roomed flat killing three people and seriously injuring three others.
When the Lesotho Times crew visited the rented flat this week, it was evident a massive explosion had taken place, with shattered windows, holes in the roof and a hole in the floor.
According to the caretaker of the rental complex, Motlatsi Monyamane, the woman – who requested anonymity – held a birthday party last Saturday in which she hosted her friends and neighbours. He said the woman, who is also the landlady’s daughter, had asked him to keep an eye on the festivities in case of any problems.
“There was party here on Saturday which started at around 4pm. There were about 10 people, both male and female, braaing meat and drinking various alcoholic beverages,” Mr Monyamane said.
“At around 10pm, the noise stopped and I went to bed thinking the party was over. I told the birthday girl to wake me up if she encountered any problems.”
While most of the revellers had gone to their homes, the woman was left with one female and three male friends. In her statement after the bombing, the woman said a male neighbour had threatened some the revellers during the party with a gun.
She said after her friends complained about the threatening behaviour, they decided to lock the door.
However, the woman said the neighbour returned after a while, and knocked on her door twice before smashing a window.
“When the window broke for the first time, I shouted for help. A couple residing in one of the neighbouring rooms came to assist us, not knowing they had come to meet their death,” she said.
“The window was smashed for the second time, and an object with an oval shape was thrown inside through a gap.”
The woman said one of the male friends suspected the object was a bomb, and picked it up with the intention of throwing it outside. However, before he could do so, it detonated and ripped his hand apart, while the couple who had come to their aid died on the spot. The couple is survived by three children – a six-year-old boy and nine month-old twins.
Mr Monyamane said he and his wife were woken up by a huge thud that shook the foundations of the surrounding buildings.
Mr Monyamane said soon afterwards, he heard footsteps of someone running towards their house. He then realised it was the birthday girl as she frantically knocked on their window.
“When I opened the door, she ran into my bedroom and threw herself on my bed in a clear state of panic. After composing herself a few minutes later, she informed us someone had attacked her home,” he said.
“I rushed to the house and found three people – two men and a woman – sprawled on the ground and everything soaked in blood. It was clear two of them were dead, but the other one still had signs of life, although his hand had been ripped off. We rushed him to the hospital where he later died.”
Mr Monyamane said he also discovered two more hand grenades in the house.
Addressing a press conference this week, police deputy spokesperson Senior Inspector Lerato Motseki said a 31-year-old had been arrested in connection with the bombing.
“A man aged 31 years has been arrested in connection with the incident which left three people dead between 2 and 3am on Sunday in Ha Seleso,” Senior Inspector Motseki said.
“A 25-year-old woman and 28-year-old man (who were the couple that came to the birthday girl’s aid) died instantly. The other victim, a 28-year-old Nyokosoba man, who is believed to be the woman’s boyfriend died after the grenade ripped his hand apart while he was attempting to throw it out of the house.”
She said the police requested assistance from the Lesotho Defence Force in removing the two remaining grenades from the room and taking them for examination.