LCS officers receive specialised training
THE government of Lesotho has embarked on a training programme to capacitate officers of the Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) to adequately handle dangerous high profile criminals and suspects currently detained in the country’s correctional facilities.
This was revealed by Justice and Correctional Services minister, Mahali Phamotse, during the recent official launch of the Lesotho Correctional Services Tactical Escort Training course in Maseru.
Dr Phamotse said the new programme had been borne out of the realisation that LCS officers needed further training to enable them to adequately handle high profile suspects who were increasingly being detained in the country’s correctional facilities on various charges.
Former army commander, Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli, is among several high profile suspects currently in custody and he faces murder and attempted murder charges.
The murder charge is for the fatal shooting of police Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko during the 30 August 2014 attempted coup against the first government of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.
Three other army officers namely, Captain Litekanyo Nyakane (38), Lance Corporal Motloheloa Ntsane (34) and Lance Corporal Leutsoa Motsieloa (31) are charged with Lt-Gen Kamoli in the murder of Sub-Inspector Ramahloko. The three are in detention with Lt-Gen Kamoli at the Maseru Maximum Prison.
The 14 attempted murder charges stem from the 27 January 2014 simultaneous bombings of the Moshoeshoe II homes of First Lady Maesaiah Thabane, one ‘Mamoshoeshoe Moletsane, and the Ha Abia residence of former police commissioner Khothatso Tšooana.
It was against this background that Dr Phamotse said that government found it necessary to capacitate LCS officers to provide adequate security when escorting such suspects and criminals to and from the courts.
Speaking at the launch event, Dr Phamotse revealed that some of the LCS officers had already been sent to Zimbabwe for the specialised training and upon their return, they were tasked with training junior officers in the LCS.
“We are working on upgrading our working conditions in many discipline and this is our first group to undergo training and there are many trainings that will happen this year, Dr Phamotse said.
She urged the troops to maintain discipline, hard work and perseverance during the training course.
Dr Phamotse also said her ministry was working hard to improve the safety and living conditions of inmates in all the correctional services facilities.
For his part, the LCS Acting Commissioner, Thabang Mothepu, said that the training was necessitated by the realisation that the basic recruitment training for LCS officers was no longer adequate especially as the prisons had experienced an influx of high ranking inmates.
He said that it was therefore necessary to have a highly skilled and competent escort unit in the LCS.
“The Lesotho Correctional Services is one of the biggest agencies in the country and it needs a very strategic approach which will fuel the realisation of its objectives by enhancing the capacities of its officials.
“It is upon this realisation that we felt the need to reorganise our running principles to overcome the challenges that will face the Lesotho Correctional Services,” Mr Mothepu said.