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Villager found dead near cliff in Mokhotlong

by Lesotho Times
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MOKHOTLONG — A 27-year-old man was on Saturday found dead near a cliff in Ntsiking in Mokhotlong.

Rethabile Motokoa’s body was found naked below the cliff by villagers who alerted the police.

The police suspect that he could have fallen from the cliff but they are not ruling out foul play as investigations into the matter are still underway.

Senior Superintendent Molahlehi Letsoepa who is the Mokhotlong district commander confirmed the case.

“The deceased was found naked with his fractured head, brain and blood spilled near his lifeless body,” Letsoepa said. 

According to the investigator’s report his clothes were found folded a distance away from the body.

“His neighbours said that they had last seen him on Thursday at a local bar drinking with his friends.”

Letsoepa said the police were not quite sure whether to suspect foul play or not.

He said there were still other possible explanations that they have to explore before they make any conclusion.

“There are many possibilities. It could be either that he fell from the cliff or he was pushed.”

He however said preliminary indications are that Motokoa could have fallen from the cliff “probably because he was drunk’.

“We suspect that he was drinking because we found a beer bottle near him and his neighbours also told us that he had been drinking.”

“The body was found 50 metres from the pathway and his clothes were found 30 metres from the pathway. A bottle of beer was found near his body.”

One villager who spoke to the Lesotho Times on condition of anonymity said that he last saw the deceased on Thursday while accompanying his wife to the taxi rank.

“Rethabile had told me that he is taking his wife to the bus stop because she was going to Butha-Buthe to do some shopping.”

Letsoepa said the police were worried about deaths resulting from people falling off cliffs.

“From winter this is the third person who was found in a terrain like this one. The two were women who were also found to be under the influence of alcohol.”

He said people must drink moderately to avoid such accidents.

He said that they have established 10 football teams around Mokhotlong to involve the communities in prevention of crime programmes and to show them that there are other recreational activities that they can do apart from beer drinking.

“Our initiatives have been well received by the villagers who are very co-operative in making sure that the teams survive,” he said.

Meanwhile, a joint operation of the police from Berea, Butha-Buthe, Leribe and Mokhotlong this week nabbed two men for illegal possession of firearms.

The operation codenamed Letsema (collective action) was launched on Tuesday night and it is made up of 41 officers from the districts, according to Letsoepa.

A 31-year-old man was arrested after he was found in illegal possession of two 9mm pistols that had seven and six rounds respectively.

Another 45-year-old man was also found in possession of a Pump Action rifle.

Letsoepa said the arrests were made in Liseleng and the suspects would appear in court soon.

During the same operation yesterday, the police impounded 12 cattle and 18 sheep at Ha-Ntsasa and Ha-Malelu cattle posts.

He said the police did not make any arrests because the suspects fled as soon as they saw the police coming.

“The purpose of the operation is to reduce crime related to guns, drugs and stock theft. We want to create a culture of zero tolerance to crime in the district.”

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