…cold-bloodied killing speaks to worrying escalation of murders by uniformed forces
IT never rains but pours for vulnerable and defenceless Basotho women who continue to be slaughtered like animals by their male counterparts.
This after yet another senseless and gruesome murder of a Ha ‘Mapotsane, Mohale’s Hoek, woman by her police officer husband over the weekend.
The latest victim has been identified as 38-year-old Relebohile Tšolo.
Her killer cop husband, Lance Sergeant Letsie Posholi (44), is based at the police headquarters in Maseru. Ironically, Lance Sergeant Posholi serves on the Interpol desk. Interpol is an acronym for International Criminal Police Organisation (ICPO). As the name suggests, Interpol is an international organisation that facilitates worldwide police cooperation and crime control.
But Lance Sergeant Posholi’s standing as a police officer and Interpol point man in Lesotho for that matter, did not deter him from committing a gruesome crime against the woman who he swore to love and protect with his own life.
In the usual formal and impersonal manner of police speaking about crimes, deputy police spokesperson Inspector ’Mareabetsoe Mofoka this week told the Lesotho Times that, “a police officer serving at Interpol is alleged to have shot and killed his wife”.
“The incident took place on the 16th of April in Ha ‘Mapotsane, Mohale’s Hoek,” Inspector Mofoka added.
However, sources close to Lance Sergeant Posholi and his now deceased wife gave a heart wrenching narration of the events of the fateful day.
“It was Easter Saturday evening and Mme Tšolo was having a good time with her husband and their two friends who were also a couple after they had left Maseru on Friday.
“The two couples drank the night away until 6:00 am and around 13:30 the deceased left to get a refill as they were still drinking and only came back around 22:00 pm accompanied by another man who was unknown to her husband. In a fit of rage and jealousy, the husband tried to ask but was told where to get off and he took to his trigger.
“She was shot like a wild animal by the man who once loved her. She was shot in front of their two friends. She sustained about 17 gunshot wounds on the head, chest, stomach and both arms. The husband used his service pistol to kill her. He was subsequently arrested and the pistol was confiscated as an exhibit by the police,” the source added.
This is not the first time that a member of officials in security agencies have committed murder.
Two months ago, a National Security Service (NSS) officer, Rethabile Tsietsi (40), shot and killed his step son, Bokang Tsietsi.
Tsietsi was arrested and his case is pending before the courts.
Some family members and friends who spoke to this publication at the time said Tsietsi was given to violence and abusive behaviour particularly when he was intoxicated.
They said at one time Tsietsi’s gun was confiscated by the NSS only to be returned even though it was clear that his behaviour had not changed at all.
The army has also been fingered in the murder of police officers and civilians.
In December 2021, a Maseru-based army sergeant allegedly shot dead his wife and 11-year-old daughter before turning the gun on himself.
Senior Supt Mopeli said Sekhopha Maja (51) murdered his 40-year-old wife, ‘Malintle and his daughter, Lintle, before committing suicide in the Lesia part of the Thetsane suburb.
Before that in October 2021, four soldiers allegedly tortured a police officer and five civilians in Mohale’s Hoek.
The officer, Police Constable (PC) Relebohile Mokone, later succumbed to the torture injuries. His family is suing Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) commander, Lieutenant General (Lt-Gen) Mojalefa Letsoela for a whooping M12 million in damages.
Five civilians, including four Pakistanis and a Mosotho, are lucky to be alive after being allegedly tortured by the same soldiers alongside PC Mokoena in Mohale’s Hoek. The five are Wilim Ashraf, Moozzam Khan, Shakeer Amir, Asnan Asif and Tumisile Moletsane.
The five are also demanding M2, 5 million damages each from Lt-Gen Letsoela. Should all these claims succeed, the army would be forced to cough up M24, 5 million in damages to the victims, an unprecedented quantum of compensation. The lawsuits are pending in the High Court.
Lesotho has now achieved the dubious distinction of being among the top ten countries with the highest levels of homicides in the world. Due to a grossly incompetent police force, a virtually useless coalition government and a moribund criminal justice system, it seems there is not going to be any respite for peace loving Basotho any time soon.