‘Ma­hao was caught off guard’

Lesotho Times - - News - Keiso Mohloboli

TWO South African Po­lice Ser­vice (SAPS) foren­sic ex­perts on Tues­day told the SADC Com­mis­sion of In­quiry that their find­ings had shown that former army com­man­der Maa­parankoe Ma­hao was caught off guard when he was killed by his col­leagues in June this year.

Bal­lis­tics ex­pert Ma­jor chris­ti­aan Man­gena and Crim­i­nol­o­gist War­rant Of­fi­cer Bandile Bright Bain Mlumbi said bul­lets holes found on the ve­hi­cle the de­ceased was driv­ing showed he was at­tacked when he didn’t ex­pect it.

Ma­jor Man­gena said the win­dow on the right side of the ve­hi­cle (the driver’s seat) was closed dur­ing the shoot­ing “be­cause the glass fell in­side in­di­cat­ing the pres­sure of the bul­let from out­side and into the ve­hi­cle”.

Ma­jor Man­gena also showed the com­mis­sion pic­tures of torn clothes lt-gen Ma­hao was wear­ing on the day he was killed.

“The de­ceased’s vest, shirt, jer­sey and me­chanic suit top were washed and had no traces of blood even though they had bul­let holes.”

Ma­jor Man­gena said for the dig­nity of the de­ceased and sen­si­tiv­ity of his find­ings, he would show the com­mis­sion­ers the pic­tures in cam­era and not in pub­lic.

War­rant of­fi­cer Mlumbi also said bul­let holes at the back of the de­ceased’s ve­hi­cle were ob­tained be­fore the 25 June 2015 shoot­ing which ended his life.

He added: “My find­ings in­di­cated that in­juries sus­tained by the de­ceased from the right side were con­sis­tent with the bro­ken win­dow of his ve­hi­cle. on the crime scene, there was lit­tle ev­i­dence of glass but there was more ev­i­dence of glass from the in­side of the ve­hi­cle and it in­di­cated that he was caught of­f­guard. i saw the crime scene clearly and ex­am­ined what we had be­cause we never got a chance to ex­am­ine the ve­hi­cle that took him from the scene,” he said.

Asked by com­mis­sioner Noel Ndlovu to ex­plain why the de­ceased’s ve­hi­cle did not have any blood, War­rant Of­fi­cer Mlumbi said: “Blood is thicker than wa­ter and he might have jumped out of the ve­hi­cle be­fore the blood pumped out of his body. i at­tended the crime scene three weeks af­ter the in­ci­dent and i could not see the amount of blood that came out at the scene.

“And then again, i did not get a lot of things that i needed to ac­cess to re­con­struct the crime scene. i was not able to come up with a cor­rect and com­pre­hen­sive re­port be­cause there were in­di­ca­tions that the crime scene was con­tam­i­nated.

“The clean­ing of the de­ceased and the wash­ing of clothes were the first chal­lenges to my job. We also re­quested the Deputy com­mis­sioner of Po­lice and Act­ing com­mis­sioner for as­sis­tance to ac­cess the things that we needed to com­plete our job but we did not get the help we asked for. i don’t know the rea­sons but it never hap­pened.

“i re­con­structed the crime scene but with not full ac­cess to what i needed to do so.”

The SADC com­mis­sion is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing lt-gen Ma­hao’s death at the hand of sol­diers who had come to ar­rest him for al­legedly plan­ning to top­ple the army com­mand.

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