Birth­day party turns to hor­ror show

. . . as grenade kills three, in­jures three oth­ers

Lesotho Times - - News - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

A BIRTH­DAY party for a 22-year old HaSe­leso woman in Maseru ended in hor­ror in the wee hours of Sun­day af­ter a hand grenade was thrown into her one-roomed flat killing three peo­ple and se­ri­ously in­jur­ing three oth­ers.

When the Le­sotho Times crew vis­ited the rented flat this week, it was ev­i­dent a mas­sive ex­plo­sion had taken place, with shat­tered win­dows, holes in the roof and a hole in the floor.

Ac­cord­ing to the care­taker of the rental com­plex, Mot­latsi Monya­mane, the woman — who re­quested anonymity — held a birth­day party last Satur­day in which she hosted her friends and neigh­bours. He said the woman, who is also the land­lady’s daugh­ter, had asked him to keep an eye on the fes­tiv­i­ties in case of any prob­lems.

“There was party here on Satur­day which started at around 4pm. There were about 10 peo­ple, both male and fe­male, braaing meat and drink­ing var­i­ous al­co­holic bev­er­ages,” Mr Monya­mane said.

“At around 10pm, the noise stopped and I went to bed think­ing the party was over. I told the birth­day girl to wake me up if she en­coun­tered any prob­lems.”

While most of the rev­ellers had gone to their homes, the woman was left with one fe­male and three male friends. In her state­ment af­ter the bomb­ing, the woman said a male neigh­bour had threat­ened some the rev­ellers dur­ing the party with a gun.

She said af­ter her friends com­plained about the threat­en­ing be­hav­iour, they de­cided to lock the door.

How­ever, the woman said the neigh­bour re­turned af­ter a while, and knocked on her door twice be­fore smash­ing a win­dow.

“When the win­dow broke for the first time, I shouted for help. A cou­ple re­sid­ing in one of the neigh­bour­ing rooms came to as­sist us, not know­ing they had come to meet their death,” she said.

“The win­dow was smashed for the sec­ond time, and an ob­ject with an oval shape was thrown in­side through a gap.”

The woman said one of the male friends sus­pected the ob­ject was a bomb, and picked it up with the in­ten­tion of throw­ing it out­side. How­ever, be­fore he could do so, it det­o­nated and ripped his hand apart, while the cou­ple who had come to their aid died on the spot. The cou­ple is sur­vived by three chil­dren — a six-year-old boy and nine month-old twins.

Mr Monya­mane said he and his wife were wo­ken up by a huge thud that shook the foun­da­tions of the sur­round­ing build­ings.

Mr Monya­mane said soon af­ter­wards, he heard foot­steps of some­one run­ning to­wards their house. He then re­alised it was the birth­day girl as she fran­ti­cally knocked on their win­dow.

“When I opened the door, she ran into my bed­room and threw her­self on my bed in a clear state of panic. Af­ter com­pos­ing her­self a few min­utes later, she in­formed us some­one had at­tacked her home,” he said.

“I rushed to the house and found three peo­ple — two men and a woman — sprawled on the ground and ev­ery­thing soaked in blood. It was clear two of them were dead, but the other one still had signs of life, al­though his hand had been ripped off. We rushed him to the hospi­tal where he later died.”

Mr Monya­mane said he also dis­cov­ered two more hand grenades in the house.

Ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence this week, po­lice deputy spokesper­son Se­nior In­spec­tor Ler­ato Mot­seki said a 31-year-old had been ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the bomb­ing.

“A man aged 31 years has been ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the in­ci­dent which left three peo­ple dead be­tween 2 and 3am on Sun­day in Ha Se­leso,” Se­nior In­spec­tor Mot­seki said.

“A 25-year-old woman and 28-year-old man (who were the cou­ple that came to the birth­day girl’s aid) died in­stantly. The other vic­tim, a 28-year-old Nyokosoba man, who is be­lieved to be the woman’s boyfriend died af­ter the grenade ripped his hand apart while he was at­tempt­ing to throw it out of the house.”

She said the po­lice re­quested as­sis­tance from the Le­sotho De­fence Force in re­mov­ing the two re­main­ing grenades from the room and tak­ing them for ex­am­i­na­tion.

CARE­TAKER Mot­latsi Monya­mane points at some of the marks left by the ex­plo­sion.

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