THE High Court has set 26 to 30 November 2018 as the dates for the murder trial of eight army officers who are accused of strangling and throwing three men into the Mohale Dam in May last year.
The eight soldiers are Sergeant Lekhooa Moepi (43); Captain Mahlehle Moeletsi (50), Lance Corporal Mahlomola Makhoali (32), Private Nthatakane Motanyane (24), Brigadier Rapele Mphaki (47), Motšoane Machai (39), Liphapang Sefako (48) and Nemase Faso (28).
They allegedly strangled Lekhoele Noko, Molise Pakela and Khothatso Makibinyane at Setibing in rural Maseru on 16 May 2017 and dumped them in the Mohale Dam.
The soldiers allegedly kidnapped and murdered the three men after the trio had just been released from police custody where they were detained in connection with a shooting incident that occurred at the Maseru border gate on 13 May last year.
Initially only five suspects were charged on 25 September 2017 before another three officers were hauled before courts to face the same murder charge on 27 September 2017.
The eight suspects remain in custody where they are still awaiting trial.
In a related development, a Mohale’s Hoek resident, Motlatsi Rantaoana, will stand trial for murdering a soldier and injuring a street vendor at the Maseru border post in May last year.
Rantaoana is accused of killing Private Katleho Seliane by shooting him twice on the neck. He is also accused on injuring Moeketsi Makhabane by shooting him in the abdomen at the Maseru border post on 13 May last year.
Rantaoana was arrested and appeared before the Magistrate’s Court a few days after the incident.
He is currently detained at the Maseru Central Correctional Institute and he has been attending remands before the Magistrate’s Court.
Rantekoa was initially arrested along with the Noko, Pakela and Makibinyane who were subsequently released after the police found there was no case against them.
However, the trio was kidnapped and killed by some army officers immediately after their release from police custody.