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More gruesome murders

 … as six people killed in five days

’Marafaele Mohloboli

LESOTHO has recorded six more gruesome murders across the country in just five days.

The brutal killings occurred between last Wednesday and Sunday, the police have said.

Police spokesperson, Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli, said they were investigating the murders.

The latest murders follow the killings of about 144 people in May and June this year alone. Eighty-four of those killings were recorded in May and the other 60 in June.

The escalating murders are a clear indication that Lesotho has sunk to new depths of depravity and callousness. The country faces the prospect of being shunned as an unsafe destination by international investors.

The violent killings have resulted in Lesotho being ranked as Africa’s murder capital by the World Population Review which puts the country at number six for homicides worldwide.

Lesotho may have actually overtaken some of the top five countries above it in the 2021 World Population Review rankings given the ongoing gruesome killings in the country.

The latest killing spree started last Wednesday when a 28-year-old man was found dead in a bush at Ha-Lekhobanyane in Mazenod.

The man had earlier been reported missing by his relatives.

“He had disappeared for about a week,” Snr Supt Mopeli said.

On Friday, a 30-year-old woman was found dead at Ha-Thetsane in Maseru. She has been identified as ’Mamotsatsi Mohapi nee Lineo Moloi.

The deceased had last been seen the previous day when she left for work but never came back home.

Her body had some multiple stab wounds, one on the forehead, another on the back, and also on the chest.
“She was stabbed with a sharp object. We are still investigating the murder,” Snr Supt Mopeli said.

No arrests have been made.

Still on the same day, an 18-year-old sheep herder was found dead in a grazing field in Mokhotlong, Tlaeeng.

Police suspect he had been strangled. He had a cloth around his neck.

Seventy of the 89 sheep that he was looking after have been recovered, Snr Supt Mopeli said.

Investigations into the killing are ongoing, he said.

The following day, Saturday, another man was shot dead by unknown gun men at Ha-Sebusi, Mafeteng.

Two other men had been found dead in the same vicinity a few days earlier. Their genitals were mutilated, Snr Supt Mopeli said.

A 31-year-old man from Taung Ha-Chabeli in Mafeteng has been arrested in connection with the brutal murder of the duo, he said.

“The man is still in custody and he is helping police with investigations. This could lead to more arrests,” said the police spokesperson.

In another shocking incident on Sunday, a 55-year-old woman from Ha-Malatsi, Hloahloeng, Mohale’s Hoek, was stabbed to death by her brother-in-law during a domestic dispute.

Snr Supt Mopeli said the accused reportedly had a long history of harassing the woman since her husband passed away in 2018.

He would take her animals and furniture for his own benefit.

During the latest row leading to her death, the accused had used the woman’s fields without her permission. He stabbed her when she confronted him about it.

“The community beat up the man into a pulp and he remains in hospital where he is fighting for his life,” Snr Supt Mopeli said.

A Mohale’s Hoek man was gunned down by unknown people also on Sunday on his way from drinking with some friends.

The deceased was shot near his house but the friends only reported his death to the police the following day.

No arrests have been made.

Even though the police are failing to combat crime, Snr Supt Mopeli said they were working hard to combat the scourge.

“We are working flat out to bring the perpetrators of these violent murders to book.

“Fighting crime is not the responsibility of the police alone. The public also needs to play a part by giving police tip-offs. This is effective in crime prevention,” he told the Lesotho Times yesterday.

He said it was unfair to accuse police of total failure in combating crime.

“We try our best to curb crime with the limited resources that we have. To an extent, our investigations often lead to arrests.”

He encouraged the public to seek professional help in resolving disputes, instead of resorting to violence. This could help curb violent crimes.

Due to the ineffectiveness of the police, the army has had to step in to fight criminals. Lately, the army has established a rapid response team to fight crime.  An LDF helicopter is now regularly patrolling Maseru during the day and night.

An irate Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) commander, Lieutenant General (Lt-Gen) Mojalefa Letsoela, has expressed concern over the high rate of crime including gun-related murders and armed robberies of businesses and private residences.

He told a military parade at Makoanyane barracks early this month that the army would not sit idly by and watch criminals threaten the peace and scare away investors.