Recruits fired from police training

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

SIX recruits have been sent home barely three weeks after their enrolment for training at the Police Training College (PTC) in Maseru.

Police spokesperson, Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli, this week said four of the recruits were found to be medically unfit to begin training while the other two were dismissed due to their “unbecoming behaviour”.

“Six recruits have been dismissed from the Police Training College with immediate effect,” Senior Supt Mopeli said.

“Four women were expelled after they were found to be medically unfit. However, we cannot disclose the recruits’ medical status as that would be a violation of their privacy.

“The male recruits were expelled after a subsequent vetting exercise revealed that they had committed some crimes. They were not a good fit for the police force. We wouldn’t want to be associated with people of their calibre,” he added.

However, some police sources said the four women were found to be pregnant, while the two men were suspected of involvement with the notorious juvenile criminal gang known as Manomoro.

It was discovered that one of the dismissed recruits had some tattoos associated with Manomoro.

“Some Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) officers were called in to help interpret the tattoos. They said it was clear from the tattoos that the recruit was a member of the Manomoro gang. He was then released from the police training,” said one police source.

Manomoro is a gang of hardened youthful ex-convicts who include Famo musicians in their ranks. They can be identified by their tattoos. The gang terrorised residents in various parts of Maseru and its environs last year. They were accused of theft, burglaries, armed robberies, rape and assault among other crimes.

Contacted for comment, Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA) spokesperson, Motlatsi Mofokeng, said the botched recruitments were a clear indication of the incompetence of the police command under Commissioner Holomo Molibeli’s leadership.

“We have always held that the Commissioner is incompetent and this is a clear sign that what we have said still holds water. There is no reason why the recruits were only dismissed after they had already been enrolled if indeed vetting was done prior their enrolment as should be the case,” said Police Constable (PC) Mofokeng.

He said the vetting would have been thorough and individuals with questionable credentials would not have been recruited if the police command had included LEPOSA in the selection process.

This is not the first time that the LMPS has been accused of recruiting ‘undesirable’ elements.

Last year, then Police Minister and Public Safety Minister, ’Mamoipone Senauoane, was accused of facilitating the recruitment of one Lebatsang Rotheli, who had been convicted of arson and attempted murder.

Mr Rotheli was convicted by a Thaba-Tseka magistrate who sentenced him to four years in prison. He was given the option of paying a M4000 fine.

A few months after his release, he was allegedly involved in another crime but he was never brought to book. According to LEPOSA, Rotheli was not ejected from training and went on to graduate with others despite his crimes.

It is not clear where he was deployed afterwards.

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