EIGHT Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) officers briefly appeared for the first time before the High Court on Tuesday to face charges of murdering former LDF commander, Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao, in July 2015.
The eight soldiers are Captain Litekanyo Nyakane; Captain Haleo Makara; Sergeant Lekhooa Moepi; Sergeant Motsamai Fako; Corporal Marasi ‘Moleli; Corporal Motšoane Machai; Corporal Mohlalefi Seitlheko and Corporal Tšitso Ramoholi.
They are charged with the murder of Lt-Gen Mahao in Mokema on 25 June 2015.
The High Court Judge, Justice ‘Maseshophe Hlajoane ordered them to appear again before the High Court on 20 April 2018 for the court to set a date of hearing.
Lt-Gen Mahao was fatally shot by his erstwhile LDF colleagues on 25 June 2015 just outside Maseru. The LDF claimed at the time that Lt-Gen Mahao had resisted arrest for allegedly leading a mutiny when he was killed but that claim was dismissed as a hoax by a Southern African Development Commission inquiry into his death.
Lt-Gen Mahao’s family accused the army of killing him in cold blood basing on the account of his nephews who were with him during the incident.
Some of the army officers who are awaiting trial in prison in connection with the assassination of Lt-Gen Mahao are also facing other serious charges that include murder and mutiny.
Among them is Captain Nyakane who is also facing a murder charge involving the killing of Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko, who was shot and killed by members of the LDF at the Police Headquarters on 30 August 2014 during the attempted coup.
Captain Nyakane also faces a mutiny charge in relation to the events that led to the killing of the former army commander, Lt-Gen Khoantle Motšomotšo, on 5 September 2017 at Ratjomose barracks.