Police hunt pastor’s killers

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Bereng Mpaki

POLICE say they have not made any arrests in connection with the murder of French pastor, Francois Snyman, a week ago.

However, investigations are ongoing and the police are hopeful of nabbing the culprits, police deputy spokesperson, Sub Inspector Mareabetsoe Mofoka, said yesterday.

“The information from the Semonkong police is that no arrests have been made so far but investigations are at an advanced stage,” Sub Inspector Mofoka said without giving details.

The popular pastor was gunned down by two unknown assailants at his Semonkong home during a robbery on 6 November 2021. He was shot dead in front of his wife and four children while they were watching television. The killers took off with an undisclosed amount of money and some valuables.

What made the murder even more callous is that Pastor Snyman and his family had already complied with the gun-toting robbers’ demands for cash and other valuables.

Pastor Snyman had been in the country since 2011. His death has been widely described as a huge loss to the Semonkong community which benefitted a great deal from his philanthropic work.

Opposition Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) secretary general, Teboho Sekata, who hails from Semonkong, described Mr Snyman’s death as a huge loss for the community.

“He was a true leader who not only ministered the word of God but also fed the people and gave them jobs,” Mr Sekata said.

“At the time of his death, he was constructing a hospital for the people of Semonkong. Currently, the nearest hospital is in Roma, which is very far. Mr Snyman’s death therefore brings uncertainty to the future of that project, which was also employing several people,” Mr Sekata added.

The Semonkong Hospital Trust (SHT), set up by Mr Snyman to raise funds for the construction of a hospital, said the community was devastated by the news of his tragic death.

“It is with tremendous sadness and heavy hearts that we have to share with you that Francois Snyman was shot on Saturday night in his home. His wife and children were present but were unharmed.

“We would like to ask that you pray for his family as well as the community, who are all devastated.

“While playing a pivotal role in SHT as construction manager of the pilot phase of the Semonkong Hospital, Francois also established a number of ministry platforms from where he served the community. He helped to construct a primary school that provides schooling to more than 300 learners from Grade 1 to 7,” the Trust said.

Mr Snyman was also known for farming initiatives which created 200 jobs for villagers and supplying fresh produce to the Semonkong Children’s Home and churches.

Mr Sekata said his murder was likely to scare off potential investors as the homicide rates kept increasing in Lesotho. Semonkong is known for its tourist attraction, the Maletsunyane Falls, and Mr Snyman’s killing could also scare away tourists, he said.

“I am worried that the continued killings could send a bad message to potential investors and tourists. I therefore, call upon the government to restore the rule of law and find Mr Snyman’s killers. The government must help us feel safe again,” Mr Sekata said.

Lesotho has in recent months made headlines on account of its high murder statistics. The country is ranked number one in Africa and sixth in the world on the World Population Review rankings for the most murderous countries.

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