Police officer runs amok

MASERU — A police officer who is suspected to have a mental illness went on a shooting spree along Kingsway Street near Queen Elizabeth II Hospital on Monday.
The shooting left a soldier seriously injured, shop windows shattered and passersby shocked.
A vehicle parked nearby had its rear window smashed by a bullet. Eyewitnesses said the police officer, Matlere Khama, had been assaulting a woman who had allegedly asked him why he had bumped into her and trampled on her feet.
The eyewitnesses said Khama had also insulted the woman.
It is alleged that Khama had slapped and kicked the woman.
The woman, the witnesses said, had rushed to seek assistance from two soldiers who were patrolling the area.
When one of the soldiers, Sergeant Mothibi Mothae, 53, confronted him, Khama allegedly lashed out and started hurling insults that included some unprintable words about his mother.
Khama then allegedly pulled out a 9mm pistol and shot at Mothae, hitting him in the stomach.
“I was with my colleague when a woman came to us screaming for help,” Mothae told the Lesotho Times as he was being wheeled to the surgery for an operation to remove the bullet.
“We went to find out but a man in plain clothes pulled his pistol and shot at me. I returned to our van to take my Galili rifle which I used to shoot at him but missed.”
He said he only realised later that he had been shot. The bullet was successfully removed.
“I don’t know what triggered the man to behave in that manner but he seems to know how to shoot,” Mothae said.
Mojela Ts´ohla, a street vendor near Husteds Pharmacy, said he saw a man shooting at the soldiers who were running for cover.
 “I heard a gunshot and saw soldiers running in different directions. I realised that the situation was not normal.
“I ran into the pharmacy to avoid bullets,” said Ts´ohla who admitted that he was still in shock.
“I saw the man putting down his umbrella and loading his gun while the soldiers were shooting at him. He did not run but just walked as if nothing had happened.”
Display windows of Gains Store, close to where the incident took place, were also damaged.
Superintendent Keneuoe Theko said Khama had a long history of mental illness and the police had confiscated his personal gun for safety reasons.
Theko said Khama’s condition was known by the police authorities.
Khama is also facing murder charges for allegedly killing a man at Pitso Ground bus stop in February.
Theko said she did not know where Khama took the gun he used to fire at the soldiers.
Khama was arrested near Checkout by officers from the Serious Crime Unit.
But the officers who arrested him said even in custody Khama kept insulting them.
He was later released.
Police spokesperson Superintendent Pheello Mphana could not be reached for comment.

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