Treason arrests expected soon

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Keiso Mohloboli

THE government says that investigations into the attempted coup of 2014 against the first government of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane are almost complete and arrests will soon be made.

The government said this while presenting its report on the political and security situation in Lesotho during last week’s Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state Double Troika Summit in Luanda, Angola.

The government also indicated that a treason charge would preferred on the suspects who include some soldiers who are already in custody facing other charges.

“The investigation into the treason case where radio stations were closed and the State House invaded by the army, where the Right Honourable Prime Minister Dr Thabane narrowly escaped and skipped the country, is almost complete.

“It is pending arrest of the suspects and joining others who are already in the Maseru Central Correctional Institution awaiting trial for various other charges who will also be formally charged before courts of law for treason,” the government said in its report.

Former army commander, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli is currently in custody at the Maximum Security Prison awaiting a murder trial in connection with the 30 August 2014 killing of Police Sub-Inspector, Mokheseng Ramahloko.

Sub-Inspector Ramahloko was shot and killed by soldiers during the attempted coup of August 2014 at the Police Headquarters in Maseru. The soldiers who allegedly acted on the instructions of the then army commander, Lt-Gen Kamoli, also raided several other police stations in Maseru and seized an assortment of weapons.

Three other army officers namely, Captain Litekanyo Nyakane (38), Lance Corporal Motloheloa Ntsane (34) and Lance Corporal Leutsoa Motsieloa (31) are charged with Lt-Gen Kamoli in the murder of Sub-Inspector Ramahloko. The three are in detention with Lt-Gen Kamoli at the Maseru Maximum Prison.

The government also said it had completed investigations into the 5 September 2017 assassination of the army commander, Lt-Gen Khoantle Motšomotšo. It said the suspects had been arrested and in addition to the normal court case, a court martial will be held next Wednesday.

The government also reported progress in its investigations into the fatal shooting of the Former First Lady, Lipolelo Thabane and the attempted murder of Thato Sibolla on 14 June 2017.

Ms Thabane was shot dead by an unknown assailant as she was about to drive into her Ha ‘Masana home on 14 June 2017. The incident occurred just two days before Dr Thabane’s inauguration as prime minister.

A female companion of Ms Thabane also sustained serious injuries in the shooting.

According to the government report, a special team was set up on 16 June 2017 to investigate murder and the attempted murder.

“The scene of crime was attended by Maseru Rural Headquarters Police Station Personnel, where two shells of a 9 mm pistol were found and submitted to the ballistics (experts).

“The team (of investigators) has conducted interviews with individuals, friends, relatives and possible witnesses.  A post-mortem was also carried out and a ‘lead’ was discovered from the deceased body and was also submitted to the ballistics. Another ‘lead’ was discovered from the lady (Ms Sibolla) while she was hospitalised and was also submitted to the ballistics. Investigations are on-going,” the government said in its report.

Yesterday, the police commissioner Holomo Molibeli confirmed that the treason investigations were underway. He however, declined to give a specific date for the completion of investigations.

“It is difficult to be specific on when the treason investigations will be complete or the dates for the arrests of the suspects. The process was triggered by the SADC intervention into Lesotho’s instability and SADC police experts have been assisting LMPS investigators. In due time, suspects will be arrested and the police will take them to the courts of law for prosecution,” Mr Molibeli said.

He also confirmed that with the help of SADC investigators, the police have two leads in relation to the murder of Ms Thabane.

“The LMPS is utilising the support from the SADC police experts and we have got the leads into the murder case of the former First Lady. I can’t give further details but when the investigations are complete the suspects will be arrested and brought to book,” he added.

 

 

 

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