Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE late army com­man­der Lt-Gen Khoan­tle Motšo­motšo

EIGHT Le­sotho Defence Force ( LDF) mem­bers are in po­lice cus­tody and be­ing in­ter­ro­gated in con­nec­tion with the as­sas­si­na­tion of LDF com­man­der, Lieu­tenant-Gen­eral Khoan­tle Motšo­motšo.

Some of the eight LDF mem­bers are be­ing in­ter­ro­gated over the dis­ap­pear­ance of three men who had been ar­rested over the fa­tal shoot­ing of two army of­fi­cers at Maseru border post on 13 May 2017.

Po­lice spokesper­son, In­spec­tor Mpiti Mopeli, yes­ter­day told the

Sun­day Ex­press that the eight were still be­ing in­ter­ro­gated and yet to be charged. He said a de­ter­mi­na­tion on whether to charge or re­lease them would be made to­mor­row.

Lt-Gen Motšo­motšo was shot dead at his Ratjo­mose bar­racks of­fice by his sub­or­di­nates on 5 Septem­ber 2017. Two of the al­leged as­sailants, Bri­gadier Bu­lane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi were shot dead by LtGen Motšo­motšo’s body­guards, while two oth­ers, Cap­tains Nyakane and Fo­nane, are in cus­tody.

Insp Mopeli, who would not be drawn to re­veal the LDF mem­bers’ iden­ti­ties, said they were handed over to the po­lice by the Mil­i­tary Po­lice.

“On Wed­nes­day, one of­fi­cer of the rank of bri­gadier was handed over by the Mil­i­tary Po­lice and is still in cus­tody to po­lice with in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the as­sas­si­na­tion of the army com­man­der, but there still have not been any for­mal charges against him as yet,” he said.

The Sun­day Ex­press has since learnt that the ap­pre­hended bri­gadier is part of the Mil­i­tary In­tel­li­gence unit.

On Thurs­day, two army of­fi­cers were handed over to the po­lice by the Mil­i­tary Po­lice, while on Fri­day five were also brought in hold­ing the ranks of pri­vate, cor­po­ral and cap­tain. All of them work in the Mil­i­tary In­tel­li­gence unit.

The govern­ment has stated that Lt-Gen Motšo­motšo did not have the back­ing of the Mil­i­tary In­tel­li­gence which was sup­posed to be his eyes and ears on the ground and an early warn­ing mech­a­nism.

Insp Mopeli said some of the LDF mem­bers in po­lice cus­tody were be­ing in­ter­ro­gated over the dis­ap­pear­ance of three men who had been ar­rested over the fa­tal shoot­ing of two army of­fi­cers at Maseru border post.

Khothatso Mak­ibinyane, Mot­latsi Pakela and Lekhoele Noko dis­ap­peared after their ar­rest by the po­lice.

Their fam­i­lies have since lodged ap­pli­ca­tions in the High Court seek­ing to com­pel the po­lice and army to pro­duce their bod­ies dead or alive.

The trio were among six men ar­rested on 13 May 2017 fol­low­ing the shoot­ing dead of the two army of­fi­cers at the border post.

Two of the six, who were iden­ti­fied as a South African na­tional and a Mosotho man re­spec­tively were re­leased a day after their ar­rest.

The other three were re­leased from po­lice cus­tody on 16 May 2017 but were never seen or heard from by their rel­a­tives ever since.

Two of the three men, Mr Mak­ibinyane and Mr Pakela, were last seen when re­leased by po­lice on 16 May 2017 at Pitso Ground Po­lice Sta­tion.

Mr Noko was al­legedly kid­napped by armed men who am­bushed a bus he was board­ing in Lekokoa­neng on 15 May 2017. Mr Noko was on the way to his home in Leribe fol­low­ing his re­lease from Pitso Ground Po­lice Sta­tion.

The sixth ar­restee, Mot­latsi Ran­taoana (23), has since been re­manded in cus­tody and is await­ing trial in the Maseru Cen­tral Cor­rec­tional In­sti­tute after be­ing charged with mur­der­ing the two army of­fi­cers.

The case to in­quire the cir­cum­stances that led to the dis­ap­pear­ance of the three men is pro­ceed­ing.

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