Crim­i­nals on the ram­page

…as two Butha-buthe su­per­mar­kets go up in flames

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

DEPUTY Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Keketso Mon­a­heng has vowed to end the wave of vi­o­lent crime which has rocked the na­tion in re­cent months.

Mr Mon­a­heng made the prom­ise this week fol­low­ing the burn­ing down of two Butha-buthe su­per­mar­kets and the na­tional Pitso House in Leribe on Sun­day night.

The deputy com­mis­sioner told a press con­fer­ence held in Maseru on Tues­day that the po­lice would do what­ever it takes to bring the per­pe­tra­tors to book, while he also con­demned famo-re­lated shoot­ings which con­tinue to claim the lives of Ba­sotho.

Butha-buthe res­i­dents were shocked to see Sho­prite U-save Store and an ad­ja­cent su­per­mar­ket owned by an In­dian busi­ness­man smol­der­ing on Mon­day morn­ing, with the fire de­stroy­ing goods and in­fra­struc­ture worth mil­lions of mal­oti. Stalls which were close to the two build­ings, also caught fire leav­ing their own­ers dev­as­tated.

“My mes­sage, on be­half of the Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice, is very short and pre­cise re­gard­ing th­ese very se­ri­ous is­sues. We are say­ing to the per­pe­tra­tors of th­ese un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dents that they should stop what they are do­ing with im­me­di­ate ef­fect. We are say­ing this be­cause we are aware that there is a syn­di­cate or syn­di­cates of mem­bers of the com­mu­nity who are not happy with some­thing and are seek­ing re­venge through th­ese il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties,” Mr Mon­a­heng said.

“They are do­ing this to pass their mes­sage that they are dis­sat­is­fied with some­thing. We are ap­peal­ing to you, men and women, to im­me­di­ately stop what you are do­ing. The route you have taken has bit­ter con­se­quences be­cause you are pro­vok­ing the po­lice to act harshly against you.

“As the po­lice, we are given the man­date to pro­tect peo­ple and their prop­erty. We are ap­peal­ing to you that if you are not sat­is­fied with any­thing in this coun­try, you should fol­low the right pro­ce­dures based on the law.

“The laws are clear and the route you have taken is the wrong one. Peo­ple seem to have for­got­ten that when they take the law into their own hands and com­mit crimes like th­ese, the po­lice will take se­ri­ous ac­tion against them. The po­lice are au­tho­rised to use force where we deem it is nec­es­sary to do so.

“I re­peat, you should be aware that the po­lice have been vested with pow­ers to use force in their op­er­a­tions, es­pe­cially when there are dis­turb­ing in­ci­dents like th­ese. I am warn­ing men and women be­hind th­ese acts that as you do this, be pre­pared to face the bit­ter con­se­quences. Those who have ears will hear. As the po­lice, we are go­ing to do all we can to use the force that we have to stop th­ese crim­i­nal acts. We will hit hard on you.

“Burn­ing su­per­mar­kets and the na­tional Pitso House is be­yond sim­ple crimes of ar­son. This is in­sur­gency; it is sab­o­tage, a very se­ri­ous crime in terms of the In­ter­nal Se­cu­rity Act.”

Asked what he meant by “peo­ple dis­sat­is­fied with some­thing”, Mr Mon­a­heng would not elab­o­rate.

“I can only go as far as con­firm­ing that the peo­ple who are do­ing this are dis­sat­is­fied res­i­dents of this coun­try, and also that in­ves­ti­ga­tions are still go­ing on. I can also say we are al­ready on the trail of the sus­pects and no one has been ar­rested as yet.”

Mean­while, Po­lice Min­is­ter Monyane Moleleki vis­ited Butha-buthe on Tues­day and con­demned the burn­ings as “a threat to the na­tion”.

“Th­ese are acts of peo­ple who are not happy that they are not in govern­ment,” Mr Moleleki said.

THIS Sho­prite U-save Store in Butha-buthe cuaght fire on Sun­day night.

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