MAFETENG — A famo music producer, his bodyguard and two others were shot and injured by unknown gunmen last Saturday while coming from a night vigil for a slain colleague.
The producer, Tšeliso Lephole, Tsotang Borotho, Shakhane Shakhane and Lebohang Mafereka were attacked at around 6pm in Malumeng village in Mafeteng.
The four were coming from a night vigil for famo artist Lehlohonolo Senone who was gunned down three weeks ago.
The four men are part of the Seakhi group of famo artists who are locked in a bitter fight with rival artists.
Senone, who was a member of Seakhi, was shot in his sleep at his home in Mafeteng by unknown gunmen.
His killers are still at large.
He was buried in Malumeng village last Sunday.
Relating his ordeal to the Lesotho Times on Tuesday, Lephole said they were crossing a small river in Thabana-Morena when they saw a 4×4 vehicle coming towards their direction.
“I was playing the famo music as we were mourning the death of our colleague.
“They parked the car and three men disembarked from the car a few metres away and came towards us,” Lephole said.
“They were wearing matlama blankets so we thought they were part of our group. They were also dancing pretending to enjoy the music.”
The matlama blanket is a type of blanket worn by all members and supporters of the Seakhi group.
“When they were close to us they started shooting at us. They fired many bullets then left us there,” Lephole said.
He said the three gunmen jumped into their car and sped off believing that they were all dead.
“All the windows on the vehicle were broken and seats had bullet holes,” he said.
Lephole said they then drove to the police station in Mafeteng and reported the attack.
But there was further drama on their way to Mafeteng.
Lephole said they saw a blue Tazz that was parked at a junction along the road.
“After taking the direction towards Mafeteng town the car sped towards us but we were able to leave it behind.
“We went straight to the police station. The police tried to look for the car but could not find it,” Lephole said.
He blamed the attack on rivalries among famo music groups.
“We are marketing and selling the albums of these Seakhi famo groups.
“They want them to suffer financially because they struggle to find people to market their music,” Lephole said.
A famo music producer, Daniel Rampipi, blamed the police for the violence in the music industry.
“There is one famo artist who is the source of these attacks in the music industry.
“His group members are released within a short period of time when they are arrested as suspects in murder cases,” Rampipi said.
He said musicians had in the past approached Deputy Prime Minister Lesao Lehohla and the assistant commissioner of police Kizito Mhlakaza to intervene in the fights.
“I once had a meeting a with Chakela (Rethabile Mokete) so that the two groups could sort out their differences but a few days later Rantšo (Rantšo Mokepi) was shot dead.
“In September I had meeting with Mahase who is also a producer of the other groups and after a few days later Seoa (Lehlohonolo Senone) was shot,” he said.
Police spokesperson Masupha Masupha confirmed the incident.
“Four men aged between 20 and 42 were shot and injured by unknown gunmen.
“The victims had attended a night vigil for a famo artist who was shot a few weeks ago in Mafeteng,” Masupha said.
“The victims were travelling in a Mercedes-Benz while the suspects were driving a white 4×4 Toyota vehicle with South African registration numbers,” he said.
He said they suspect the four men could have been attacked by rival musical groups.
“The incident occurred at a time when the police are planning to have a meeting with famo artists,” he said.
He said police were still investigating the case.