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Mosisili’s guards under probe

by Lesotho Times

MASERU – A group of soldiers suspected to be Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s guards are under investigation for allegedly attacking an elderly Chieftainess in Mohale’s Hoek last Wednesday.
The soldiers who are understood to have been stationed as guards at Mosisili’s home in Qacha’s Nek also allegedly assaulted some villagers who tried to help ’Mabatho Phafoli ’Muso, the area chieftainess of Qabane, Senqunyane and Motsekuoa.
They are alleged to have sprayed her house with bullets and threatened to kill her.
This was after one of ’Muso’s junior chiefs from Senqunyane had brought a herd of stray cattle to her kraal for safekeeping.
The junior chief told ’Muso, 82, that his men had found the cattle grazing in the communal forest unattended.
Some of the cattle had been mutilated; one had its tail cut while another had been dehorned.
’Muso agreed to keep the cattle while her men informed the police about the incident.
But instead of the police ’Muso got a visit from the soldiers who are understood to be Mosisili’s guard at his Qacha’s Nek house.
They were allegedly using a government four-by-four twin cab vehicle with registration number Y3947.
The soldiers allegedly sprayed the octogenarian’s house with bullets and broke windows and doors.
They also threatened to torch the house and kill her, she claimed
And when her subjects came to her rescue the soldiers allegedly beat them up. The soldiers then allegedly went to ’Muso’s kraal, took the cattle and drove off. They allegedly told ’Muso that they were going to deal with the junior chief who had brought the cattle from Senqunyane.
Police spokesperson Masupha Masupha confirmed that the Ha-Sekake police are investigating the case.
Masupha however said he would not reveal who the police were investigating until the case is brought before the courts.
“We will not say whether there is an investigation against soldiers or not. It will have to wait until the case is brought before the courts,” Masupha said on Tuesday.
’Muso told the Lesotho Times on Monday that she was with her granddaughter who was breastfeeding her four-month old baby when  the soldiers attacked the house in broad day light.
She explained that she had decided to keep the cattle because she wanted the police to handle the matter and deal with the owners.
Under normal circumstances the chief keeps the cattle until the police can identify the owners.
“I telephoned the nearest police station of Ha-Sekake but the phone went unanswered,” ’Muso said.
“I then instructed my men to drive them to the police station but they said it would get dark before they reach there. Since my son was on his way to Qacha’s Nek, I wrote a letter and instructed him to give it to the Qacha’s Nek police”.
“My attackers arrived after my son had left for Qacha’s Nek. Many of the village men had gone to work on their fields because they believed the police would come to take over.”
“In no time I heard some men shouting outside and one of them banging on my front door,” she said.
“I was asking who it was and what he wanted but all of a sudden I heard a gunshot. A bullet ripped off a plank from the door and it hit the opposite wall.”  “I was behind the door trying to open it when the shooting began and the bullets were penetrating the door hitting the wall behind.”
‘Muso said she saw a uniformed soldier through a window while another one who was at the door was barking at her to open.
Realising that she was in grave danger ’Muso said she pushed the key under the door and told the soldiers to open the door themselves.
“They said they were going to burn the house if I did not open for them.”
By this time her granddaughter was hiding in a corner with the screaming baby in her arms, ‘Muso said.
When the shooting eventually stopped, ’Muso said, she opened the door to find the soldiers pointing their guns at her.
“I was afraid that the soldiers were going to shoot me but they only insulted and went to the kraal to drive the cattle out. Perhaps they decided not to shoot me because now I was in full view of the people,” she said.
She said some of her subjects who had come to her rescue were assaulted, while some had fled after hearing gunshots.
Her son who is an heir to the chieftainship and the president of the Qacha’s Nek local court, Phafoli Phafoli, told the Lesotho Times that he knew that the vehicle used in the attack belonged to soldiers stationed at Mosisili’s house.
“I met this twin cab on the way taking the direction of my village as I was going to Qacha’s Nek and it was speeding,” Phafoli said.
“It slowed down at a time when we passed each other because the road had potholes and that was when I identified two of the Prime Minister’s bodyguards in the front seat,” he said.
“I was not aware that they were going to my village to attack my mother.” Phafoli said he received a telephone call from a villager that his mother was being attacked by soldiers and he made a U-turn to the village to see what was happening.
He said when he arrived back at the village the soldiers had allegedly gone to a nearby village of Senqunyane to look for the junior chief who had brought the cattle to the chieftainess’s kraal.
Phafoli said he took his mother to Qacha’s Nek to see a doctor.
The following day, he said, he took her to Mosisili’s home “with the aim to report his bodyguards’ misbehaviour.”
“When we arrived at his home, Prime Minister was outside the house and I went to him, greeted him and told him that I was in a company of my mother who wanted to talk to him for a few minutes,” Phafoli said.
“Mosisili refused to talk to my mother saying he was at rest and he did not want to be bothered. I suspected that he knew something about this hence why he did not want to hear what my mother wanted to talk to him about,” he said.
On Monday ’Muso had not gone back to her home as she was attending medical checkups in Maseru.
“I find it hard to sleep at night. I hear gunshots in my head and I feel like someone wants to shoot me,” she said.
Efforts to get a comment from the prime minister’s office were not successful.

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