Families recount horrific bombings


B Zihlangu and K Mohloboli

MASERU — “Why did they not kill me? Why target my kids? It’s because they are cowards,” says an angry Liabiloe Ramoholi as she nar­rates her ordeal after she narrowly escaped death during the dreadful bombing of her property this week.

A deafening explosion followed by gunshots left the two families of Ramoholi, 35, a promi­nent ABC activist of Moshoeshoe II village, and of Commissioner of Police, Khothatso Tšooana, of Ha Abia Tšieeng, reeling from shock in the early hours of Monday morning.

Three children were badly injured in the blast at Ramoholi’s home while one male rela­tive of Tšooana suffered headaches after in­haling smoke from the explosion.

When this paper visited the scene on Mon­day morning, Ramoholi sat in her chair in the kitchen receiving guests and relating the events of the odious night.

Ramoholi said she was sleeping in her bed­room when she was rudely awoken by a deaf­ening blast.
She said she immediately woke up but her mind was slow to figure out what was going on as she was trying to come out of her stupor.

Then, Ramoholi said, she suddenly smelt some smoke adding that as she was trying to make sense of what was going on, she heard her young son calling “God please, help us”.
She immediately got off her bed and rushed to the children’s bedroom but found the two eldest girls bleeding and trudging to her bed­room, crying out for help.

Her son, she said, could only be heard call­ing out to his mother, while he was huddled under an upturned bed, presumably having been thrown into the corner by the force of the blast.
She said she fished the boy from under the bed and proceeded to her bedroom where she tore bed sheets to wrap around the three chil­dren’s bodies to stop the incessant bleeding while they waited for transport to rush the victims to hospital.

“I tore sheets from the bed and individually wrapped them so they would not lose blood while we waited for help to rush them to hos­pital.”

“My maid was crawling on all fours asking for help, while the three were all calling out to me trying to escape to my bedroom, bleeding,” Ramoholi said.

Asked who she thought could be be­hind the attack, Ramoholi said she had no idea as she cannot think of any en­emies who would want to kill her chil­dren.

But Ramoholi, seemingly calm for someone who had just experienced such trauma, labeled the unknown assailant cowards “for trying to kill my children”.
“Why did they not kill me? Why injure my kids? It’s because they are cowardly and are scared of me,” Ramoholi said angrily.

She added that whoever attacked her house and hurt her children should know that “my God is greater than their stupid bombs”.

“The fact that on my own I was able to wrap the children with sheets to avert blood loss while waiting for help is testimony to my God’s strength,” Ramoholi said.

Tsekele Sello, a close relative to the family said he received a call from Ramoholi just be­fore 02:00 a.m on Monday, desperately asking him to come to her rescue as she cried; “I am dying with my children”.
Sello said; “following ‘M’e Liabiloe’s call, I called her sister and the police who were quick to attend to the scene”.
He said on arrival at the scene with the po­lice, they found three children ly­ing on the floor badly wounded, soaking in a blood.

“Blood was just ooz­ing incessantly from their wounds as they were rushed to the Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital for medical assis­tance,” Sello said.

M e a n w h i l e sports minister Thesele ‘Maser­ibane and Minis­ter in the Prime Minister’s Office Molobeli Soulo re­sponsible for police and military affairs also visited Ramoholi to express their sym­pathies.
‘Maseribane told Ramoholi that he and Soulo only heard of the attacks in the morning and decided to “pay you a visit and see how you’re holding up”.

“We also plan to visit the children in hospi­tal to see how they’re doing,” ‘Maseribane said.
Soulo, seemingly shocked, did not utter a word.
All that the minister could do was stand there and helplessly look at the dry clots of blood that flowed from the children’s bedroom and ended in Ramoholi’s.

This paper was also lucky to be included on the two ministers’ entourage to the hospital where we saw first-hand the injuries of the children but were barred from taking photos.
One of the injured victims, Ramoholi’s 18-year-old maid had an open wound on the right thigh that was stitched from above her knee up to the hip.

Both her thighs were pink, as if from burn wounds while her right shoulder was said to have detached joints and was supported and bandaged.

The other girl, an orphan Ramo­holi has taken in, was bandaged on the head and in the X-Ray room when the ministers vis­ited her.

On the other hand, Ramo­holi’s son was awake when the ministers reached his ward holding his drip pack with one hand while his left leg was bandaged from the ankle up to the knee while his face was slightly swollen.
The skin on his right and left thigh was an odd pink, like he was burnt by fire.
‘Maseribane said it was so sad to hear about Ramoholi’s ordeal and to see the children’s wounds adding “we’re wishing you a speedy recovery and good health”.
He said hopefully they would see them again soon to check how much progress they had made.
Soulo kept silent. He helplessly looked at the children as if he was equally absorbing the pain and shock they were enduring.

Meanwhile, Tšooana said his family was lucky that the bombing device did not pene­trate into his house adding otherwise “it could have brought horrific damage to me and my family”.
He said the dust that filled his son’s bed­room following the suspected bombing affected his brother who later experienced a headache.
“My brother inhaled the dust and had a headache which only abated after coming out of the room,” Tšooana said
Tšooana said he is unable to figure out why his house was attacked on or around the same time as Ramoholi’s house.

“I cannot link the two attacks to politics or my promotion but whoever did this, it gives you the idea that they wanted me and Ramo­holi dead,” Tšooana said.
He said the device hit his house three times and the sound was louder and frightening than that of a gun.
Tšooana told this paper that from the shrap­nel found around his yard and the neighbour’s yard, one could establish that the device used cannot be accessed by ordinary people but by security forces in Lesotho or neighbouring South Africa.

“Our investigation team will examine the pieces found and try to establish the kind of devices used in both attacks which, hopefully, will also help to locate the perpetrators,” said Ts’ooana.
He also said he is not frightened by the at­tack because he is positive that with LMPS expertise the perpetrators will soon be located and arrested for their deeds.

Some neighbours who came out of their houses soon after the attack told this paper during its visit to Tšooana’s house that they saw two men running to a white twin cab 4×4 model which was parked about 1km away from Tšooana’s house.

Police spokesperson Lebona Mohloboli said the shrapnel of the devices used in both inci­dents look alike but investigations would fully establish the full truth.

He said the shells of an AK47 found in Mo­shoeshoe II were also similar.
“AK47 guns are used by our security forces during circles of wars and are not easily ac­cessed by ordinary people for family at­tacks,” Mohloboli said.

He said the investigations would es­tablish whether the attacks were indeed linked.

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