Detained soldiers so in trouble tr over kids ki protest
SIXTEEN soldiers detained in Maseru Maximum Security Prison for suspected mutiny were allegedly denied food on Sunday and Monday morning as punishment for a ‘fun-walk’ their children have organised to commemorate Father’s Day.
According to the soldiers’ lawyer and children and who spoke to the Lesotho Times on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, the detainees have been threatened with more punishment if the Father’s Day commemoration set for 19 June in Maseru, is not called off.
The detainees were allegedly first verbally abused by their guards and then told they would suffer because of their children’s “politically motivated” fun-walk before they were denied the food.
The Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) has, however, rejected the claims while acting Defence and National Security Minister Likeli Tampane accused opposition political parties of being behind the “false” allegations to tarnish government’s image.
However, the Lesotho Times was told five of the soldiers were placed in solitary confinement on Sunday after the food fiasco and defying orders issued by one of their guards, arguing he was “too junior” to give them any instructions.
The guard, a Corporal, had allegedly told the detainees to stand in a queue so he could see if they were all present, only to be told off by those who outrank him.
It was this argument, the Lesotho Times further heard, which landed Brigadier Motoa, Colonel Stemere, Colonel Kolisang, Major Makhetha and Captain Chaka, in solitary confinement.
The detention, the Lesotho Times was further told, came after a Lieutenant-colonel had allegedly told the soldiers their ranks counted for nothing as they were now prisoners.
On Monday, the detainees were also allegedly addressed by a Second-lieutenant who told them as a result of their children’s “politically motivated walk”, their medication would be withdrawn.
One of the lawyers representing the soldiers, Attorney Tumisang Mosotho, yesterday said he had been informed of the “punishment” but was yet to personally verify the allegations.
Another lawyer representing the accused who refused to be identified, confirmed the detainees had been denied food and also said the five officers were now in solitary confinement for their defiance.
But a daughter of one of the detained soldiers yesterday told the Lesotho Times the ‘fun walk’ would continue despite their fathers’ “ha- rassment”.
The 22-year-old also said the event had been organised by the families of the 23 soldiers who have been accused of plotting to overthrow the LDF command. The family of slain former LDF commander Maaparankoe Mahao is also part of the Father’s Day walk, she added.
Lieutenant-general Mahao was fatally shot by LDF members on 25 June 2015, allegedly while resisting arrest for being the brains behind the suspected mutiny.
The defiant daughter told the Lesotho Times: “We have decided to come out and break the silence by holding the walk to comfort each other on Father’s Day. We want to commemorate this day together as children of fathers who are facing similar hardships.
“But our fathers have told us that our decision to hold the fun-walk has angered certain people and they are now ill-treating them in detention.
“Our fathers informed us they had been denied food and placed un- der solitary confinement and they would not see the sun due to our actions.
“They also informed us they were threatened that some of us would not return from the Father’s Day commemoration if we go ahead with it.
“But we will not be intimidated; we will go ahead with the walk because we believe we have the right to celebrate this day the way we want.”
Another daughter of the detained soldiers told the Lesotho Times the walk is meant to bring the anguished children together so they could remember their fathers as one big family.
The 20-year-old, who also refused to be named, said the emotional torture the families of the detained soldiers have gone through since the arrests which took place between May and June 2015, had become unbearable.
She denied the walk was politi
We have decided to come out and break the silence by holding the walk to comfort each other on Father’s Day.
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