Twenty-seven people died when their cars crashed along the country’s roads between 20 and 25 December, police spokesperson Lebona Mohloboli said this week.
In addition, 322 vehicles were severely damaged during the period in question, with Senior Inspector Mohloboli calling the highway mayhem one of the worst in Lesotho’s history.
According to the police spokesperson, 29 people were also murdered during this period, six of them the result of domestic disputes.
“The statistics we have collected so far cover the period 20-25 December, and they paint a very gloomy picture indeed,” Senior Inspector Mohloboli said on Tuesday.
“There were 27 fatalities through road accidents during this period, while 64 people were seriously injured on our roads throughout the country, also between 20 and 25 December. A total of 322 vehicles were destroyed in those accidents, and the crashes were caused by excessive speed, which resulted in misjudgement by the drivers. Drinking and driving was another issue which contributed to this high number of road accidents,” Senior Inspector Mohloboli said, adding Maseru had the highest number of crashes at 132.
Senior Inspector Mohloboli also expressed concern at the “alarming” murders which also took place from 20-25 December.
“Twelve of these deaths were the result of stabbings in public bars. Unfortunately, these incidents occurred in the early hours of the morning when most of the bars should have closed a long time ago.
“So these operators are breaking the law by opening their businesses outside the permitted times, and the unfortunate result of this is loss of lives.”
In addition, Senior Inspector Mohloboli said six men were also accused of killing their spouses during the period in question.
“We also have some unfortunate cases where six men allegedly killed their partners. Still, some of the killings took place at public bars when these drinking places should have closed for business.”
Senior Inspector Mohloboli also noted there were 19 cases of housebreaking, two of armed robbery, and 23 sexual offences which were also reported during the days in question.
“These are disturbing statistics, which clearly indicate that crime is increasing in our communities. This shows we need to come up with new strategies, as the police, to fight crime if we are to bring these figures down.”
The police also confiscated 12 unlicenced firearms during this period.
“Seven people were arrested in connection with the illegal firearms. Six of them were convicted, while investigations on the other suspect, are continuing.”