Detained soldiers ‘in trouble’ over kids protest
cally motivated, adding: “There is nothing political about our attempt to comfort each other as daughters and sons of the detained soldiers, those who fled the country and the children of Ntate Mahao.”
However, LDF Public Affairs Officer, Colonel Ntlele Ntoi, yesterday denied the alleged punishment of the soldiers.
“This is surprising because all soldiers in detention continue to receive food and there are no soldiers placed under solitary confinement,” said Colonel Ntoi.
Acting Defence and National Security Minister Tampane also denied the alleged punishment. According to Minister Tampane, the alleged ill-treatment of the soldiers was propaganda engineered by opposition political parties each time development partners visit Lesotho. United States Deputy Assistant Secretary for Southern Africa and Public Diplomacy, Todd Haskell, is in Lesotho to see the impact of the American government’s support for programmes aimed at fighting the scourge of HIV and AIDS.
He also met government officials and members of the opposition yesterday to discuss, among oth- ers, the country’s political situation.
“When I learned about these claims, I sent one of my officials to find out what was really going on at the detention centre.
“But we have since established that the opposition is influencing these children to organise the walk without their parents’ knowledge,” Ms Tampane said.
“I also made inquiries with the LDF Commander Lieutenant-general Tlali Kamoli who assured me that his inquiries into the matter had revealed that the allegations are not true.”
Minister Tampane further said the allegations are meant to tarnish the image of the government, with the hope that Lesotho is shunned by the international community, particularly development partners, for perceived human rights abuses.
“Whenever we have a visitor, especially development partners from the United States, the opposition comes up with false accusations against the government and the army in their attempt to get attention,” she said.
Meanwhile the detainees’ Court Martial proceedings have since been postponed to 6 September 2016 to allow the soldiers’ chal-
lenge of the legality of their trial, which was referred to the Court Martial Appeal Court in February this year, to be finalised.
All in all, the soldiers who have been charged for alleged mutiny are 23 and their names are Brigadier Mareka, Brigadier Poqa Motoa, Colonel Stemere, Colonel Kolisang, Major Makhetha, Captain Chaka, Second-lieutenant Mohasi, Sergeant Mokhobo, Sergeant Semakale, Sergeant Lekhabunyane, Corporal Mokhoro, Corporal Letsilane, Corporal Lipoto, Corporal Manaka, Corporal Mohatlane, Corporal Chele, Corporal Motseko, Lance-corporal Jobo, Lance-corporal Molefi, Lance-corporal Makhooane, Private Pama, Private Bolofo and Private Ralitlemo.