Kamoli de­tained

Ex-army boss in cus­tody for crimes com­mit­ted dur­ing his ten­ure

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

FOR­MER Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) com­man­der, Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Tlali Kamoli (pic

tured), yes­ter­day handed him­self over to po­lice for in­ter­ro­ga­tion over crimes com­mit­ted un­der his watch by the mil­i­tary, as the gov­ern­ment ratch­ets up the pros­e­cu­tion of sol­diers im­pli­cated in var­i­ous un­re­solved crimes.

Po­lice spokesper­son, In­spec­tor Mpiti Mopeli, last night con­firmed to the Le­sotho Times Lt-gen Kamoli’s de­ten­tion and in­ter­ro­ga­tion, adding that the for­mer army boss would re­main in cus­tody overnight.

“I am not sure how long he will re­main in cus­tody, but it will de­pend on the process of ques­tion­ing,” In­spec­tor Mopeli said.

“The in­ter­ro­ga­tion is all about the events that took place dur­ing his lead­er­ship of the Le­sotho De­fence Force.”

Insp Mopeli would not be drawn to state the ex­act crimes Lt-gen Kamoli was quizzed over, say­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions were at a pre­lim­i­nary stage and the for­mer LDF boss could ei­ther be re­leased or charged based on the in­for­ma­tion gath­ered dur­ing the in­ter­ro­ga­tion.

Since its in­stal­la­tion, fol­low­ing the 3 June 2017 National Assem­bly elec­tions, the Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane-led gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted to prose­cut­ing peo­ple im­pli­cated in var­i­ous un­solved crimes es­pe­cially in the mil­i­tary.

The pros­e­cu­tions are in line with South­ern African Devel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) Com­mis­sion of In­quiry rec­om­men­da­tions for en­sur­ing last­ing peace in the in­sta­bil­ity-prone King­dom.

Al­ready, a num­ber of LDF mem­bers have been ar­rested and charged for crimes that were com­mit­ted over the past few years.

Ap­pointed as LDF com­man­der by then prime min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili in 2012, Lt-gen Kamoli’s ten­ure was char­ac­terised by tur­moil and in­sta­bil­ity, with mem­bers of the mil­i­tary im­pli­cated in nu­mer­ous un­re­solved crimes.

In Au­gust 2014, Lt-gen Kamoli re­sisted his dis­missal by Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane by at­tempt­ing a coup. He de­ployed sol­diers to raid and seize arms from three key Maseru po­lice sta­tions. Lt-gen Kamoli ac­cused the po­lice of plan­ning to give civil­ians firearms for use dur­ing a Le­sotho Con­gress for Democ­racy street protest — against the Dr Tha­bane-led gov­ern­ment the LCD was part of. The demon­stra­tion had been for 1 Septem­ber 2014 after re­la­tions within the coali­tion gov­ern­ment had soured.

The po­lice dis­missed the al­le­ga­tions out of hand. Dr Tha­bane fled the coun­try on the eve of the at­tempted coup after re­ceiv­ing a tip off that his life was in dan­ger. He would then only re­turn the next month un­der heavy South African po­lice guard. Po­lice Sub-in­spec­tor Mokhe­seng Ramahloko was shot dead dur­ing the 30 Au­gust 2014 at­tempted coup. Three LDF mem­bers were last week charged for his mur­der.

The at­tempted putsch trig­gered a chain of events that led to the col­lapse of Dr Tha­bane’s gov­ern­ment and the in­ter­ven­tion of SADC to pre­vent all out chaos.

Lt-gen Kamoli was even­tu­ally re­tired by Dr Mo­sisili in De­cem­ber 2016, after the lat­ter had re­turned to power. Le­sotho’s devel­op­ment part­ners, such as the United States, had threat­ened to with­draw aid if he re­mained at the helm of the LDF.

Sources privy to the mat­ter told this pub­li­ca­tion Lt-gen Kamoli was be­ing in­ter­ro­gated over a raft of un­solved crimes, in­clud­ing the 27 Jan­uary 2014 si­mul­ta­ne­ous bomb­ings of the Moshoeshoe II homes of First Lady Mae­siah Tha­bane, ‘Mamoshoeshoe Mo­let­sane and the Ha Abia res­i­dence of for­mer po­lice com­mis­sioner Khothatso Tšooana.

As part of in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the at­tacks, the po­lice had re­quested to in­ter­view eight LDF mem­bers, but Lt-gen Kamoli re­fused to sur­ren­der the sol­diers, thereby sour­ing re­la­tions be­tween the two se­cu­rity agen­cies.

The sources said Lt-gen Kamoli was also grilled over the 25 June 2015 killing of for­mer army com­man­der Lt-gen Maa­parankoe Ma­hao.

Lt-gen Ma­hao was shot dead by his erst­while col­leagues who claimed he re­sisted ar­rest for al­legedly lead­ing a mutiny against the army com­mand.

How­ever, a SADC Com­mis­sion of In­quiry es­tab­lished to probe the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing Lt-gen Ma­hao’s death deemed the mutiny al­le­ga­tions “highly sus­pect”.

The Ma­hao fam­ily also ac­cused the LDF of killing him in cold blood bas­ing on the ac­count of his neph­ews who were with him dur­ing the in­ci­dent. The sources also re­vealed that Lt-gen Kamoli was in­ter­ro­gated over the 10 May 2014 killing of Lisebo Tang and maim­ing of her male com­pan­ion, Tšepo Jane, by sol­diers guard­ing his Ha-leqele res­i­dence.

Ms Tang was shot dead when the car she was sit­ting in with Mr Jane was pep­pered with bul­lets by LDF mem­bers guard­ing the home of LtGen Kamoli.

She died on the scene of shoot­ing, with Mr Jane sus­tain­ing se­ri­ous in­juries and taken to the Makoanyane Mil­i­tary Hos­pi­tal. A po­lice re­port stated that the ve­hi­cle in which they were sit­ting was shot 123 times by the sol­diers guard­ing Lt-gen Kamoli’s premises.

It had been widely spec­u­lated that Lt-gen Kamoli would only be ar­rested after SADC had de­ployed an agreed con­tin­gent force to avoid any fight back from his sup­port­ers in the army.

The de­ci­sion to call him for in­ter­ro­ga­tion be­fore the ar­rival of the force un­der­scores the new coali­tion gov­ern­ment’s re­solve to follow through on its pros­e­cute sol­diers ac­cused of hu­man rights abuses.

FOR­MER LDF com­man­der Lt-gen Tlali Kamoli

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