Suspected baby snatchers granted bail

MASERU — Two women from Ha-Ts’iu appeared in the Magistrate’s Court on Monday charged with abducting an infant in January.

‘Mathuso Ntiese, 58, and ‘Maselebalo Ntaolane, 51, are alleged to have abducted a week-old baby on January 30.

It is alleged that Ntaolane stole the baby from a block of flats where its mother Mahali Kotoka was staying with her sister.

The mother, the court heard, had gone to a nearby well to fetch water when Ntaolane allegedly sneaked in and stole the baby.

The state alleges that Ntaolane took the baby to Ntiese.

The child is still missing.

Appearing before Magistrate ‘Makampong Mokhoro the duo told the court that they wanted bail and they will seek legal representation.

They both promised that they would not abscond.

 “I ask the court to give me bail so that I can consult my lawyer. I have been staying in Ha-Tsiu for 30 years, the area chief and villagers know me. I won’t go anywhere,” Ntaolane said.

When asked how she would afford bail Ntaolane said she had a monthly income of M1 000.

Ntaolane promised that she would not interfere with state witnesses but appealed to the court to protect her from the villagers “who had started attacking me and accusing me of being a witch”.

Ntiese said: “I want to be protected from the villagers. I want to be released home to see how things are like so that I can tell my relatives about my predicament.”

He added that her brother was going to help her pay the bail.

Thabang Motsamai who was representing the crown did not object to their bail application.

Magistrate Mokhoro agreed with their request and gave them M500 bail each. 

“I have no objection since the prosecution did not object to it. And considering your age I don’t think you will abscond from the case. There is no evidence that you will interfere with crown witnesses.

“You are expected not to interfere with crown witnesses, attend remand and trial until finality,” she said.

The missing baby’s mother also attended the hearing. She told the Lesotho Times she was still hoping that her baby will be found.

“My child was stolen on January 30 where I’m staying with my sister. I’m still hurt and I don’t have words to say.”

The court was filled with angry villagers from Ha-Ts’iu.

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