Ex-offenders fight gangsterism

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Limpho Sello

THE Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders Association (CRROA) and the Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) have launched a countrywide initiative to combat gangsterism.

The campaign kicks off today in Mokhotlong district.

CRROA is a grouping of ex-offenders whose focus is on crime prevention and the rehabilitation of convicts. They also assist in the reintegrating of released offenders into their respective communities.

The organisation says it is concerned about in the increase in criminal gangs that terrorise communities across the country.

Last year, a gang of hardened ex-convicts, known as Manomoro, terrorised residents in various parts of Maseru and its environs last year, through criminal activities.

Manomoro usually identify themselves with certain tattoo signs and reportedly have to pass some tasks including killing rivals to be accepted as gang members.

Marauding gangs are now notorious in some schools and communities around the country.

The campaign to rehabilitate youths and ex-offenders was announced on Tuesday as CRROA handed over cosmetics and home disinfectants worth M42 000 to help the LCS fight Covid-19 and reduce its impact in prisons.

CRROA also assists with the reintegration of released offenders into their respective communities and bridges the rift that exist between them and their victims.

Speaking to the press, CRROA president, Nkalimeng Mothobi, said the association is concerned about the mushrooming of gangs.

Mr Mothobi said they would work towards curbing criminal activities caused by gangs in and outside prisons.

“Our intention is to address the issue of gangsterism from the root cause, which is in the prison cells until we go deep in communities where the gangs have now gained notoriety.

“We are going to start this in campaign in the prison cells by speaking to the prisoners who have joined the gangs and end in communities and schools where some youths have joined in high numbers,” he said.

He added that there was an outcry from the public concerning crimes committed by gangs and they were now living in fear.

“We need to reach to a point where we eliminate the gangs or hugely decrease their criminal activities.”

In response, the LCS Commissioner, Mating Nkakala, said they are happy that CRROA is going to assist in addressing the issue of youngsters “who have turned into wild animals by killing the nation”.

“The sad reality about gangsterism is that it ends in unnecessary brutal and heartless deaths,” he noted.

Commissioner Nkakala said they would work with CRROA and offer their full support to ensure the impact of the campaign is felt.

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