. . . as SADC se­cu­rity mis­sion jets in

Sunday Express - - NEWS - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

ASOUTHERN African Devel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) Se­cu­rity Tech­ni­cal As­sess­ment Mis­sion, made of re­gional se­cu­rity ex­perts, is set to ar­rive in the coun­try to­day.

This comes against the back­ground of the fa­tal shoot­ing of army com­man­der, Lieu­tenant-Gen­eral Khoan­tle Motšo­motšo, on 5 Septem­ber this year.

Lt-Gen Motšo­motšo was shot and killed at his Ratjo­mose Bar­racks of­fice al­legedly by his sub­or­di­nates – Bri­gadier Bu­lane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi.

Bri­gadier Sechele and Colonel Hashatsi were sub­se­quently shot dead by LtGen Motšo­motšo’s body­guards.

In the wake of Lt-Gen Motšo­motšo’s as­sas­si­na­tion, SADC con­vened an ur­gent sum­mit in Pre­to­ria, South Africa on 15 Septem­ber to map the way for­ward.

The sum­mit ap­proved Le­sotho’s request for a stand-by force con­sist­ing of mil­i­tary, se­cu­rity, in­tel­li­gence and civil­ian ex­perts to as­sist the Le­sotho Defence Force (LDF) in man­ag­ing the se­cu­rity cri­sis in the coun­try.

The sum­mit fur­ther di­rected re­gional defence chiefs to con­vene a tech­ni­cal as­sess­ment mis­sion (TAM) to Le­sotho ahead of the de­ploy­ment of the re­gional stand-by force.

SADC’s Act­ing Di­rec­tor of the Or­gan on Pol­i­tics, Defence and Se­cu­rity Af­fairs, Bri­gadier Michael Mukoko­mani, sub­se­quently wrote to the govern­ment of Le­sotho, in­form­ing it that the Tech­ni­cal As­sess­ment Mis­sion would ar­rive in Le­sotho on 24 Septem­ber and re­main in the coun­try un­til 28 Septem­ber.

Part of the let­ter dated 20 Septem­ber and copied to act­ing LDF com­man­der, Ma­jor Gen­eral Li­neo Poopa, states that: “The Dou­ble Troika Chiefs and Defence Se­cu­rity Tech­ni­cal As­sess­ment Mis­sion to Le­sotho will ar­rive in Le­sotho on 24 Septem­ber and stay un­til 28 Septem­ber and this is pur­suant to the de­ci­sions of Dou­ble Troika Sum­mit held in Pre­to­ria, South Africa where the sum­mit di­rected the chiefs of defence and se­cu­rity to con­duct a tech­ni­cal as­sess­ment mis­sion to Le­sotho by 22 Septem­ber 2017”.

Bri­gadier Mukoko­mani said the mis­sion’s du­ties in­cluded as­sess­ing re­quire­ments, de­ter­min­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate size of the con­tin­gent force and pre­par­ing the modal­i­ties for the de­ploy­ment which should be done by 1 Novem­ber 2017.

“The SADC sec­re­tariat re­quests the govern­ment of Le­sotho to pro­vide crit­i­cal sup­port to en­sure the suc­cess­ful con­duct of the tech­ni­cal as­sess­ment mis­sion,” Bri­gadier Mukoko­mani said.

Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane’s Press At­taché, Thabo Thakalekoala, on Fri­day con­firmed the de­vel­op­ments, telling the Sun­day Ex­press that “it is true the mis­sion will ar­rive in Le­sotho on Sun­day in prepa­ra­tion for the de­ploy­ment of a stand-by force to Le­sotho”.

On the morn­ing of Lt-Gen Motšo­motšo’s as­sas­si­na­tion, he had ordered three junior army of­fi­cers im­pli­cated in the fa­tal shoot­ing of Lisebo Tang to report them­selves to the po­licea de­ci­sion that al­legedly an­gered Bri­gadier Sechele and Colonel Hashatsi.

The of­fi­cers stand ac­cused of mur­der­ing Ms Tang and face an­other charge of the at­tempted mur­der of Tšepo Jane who was with her in the car near for­mer army com­man­der, Lt-Gen Tlali Kamoli’s res­i­dence in Ha Le­qele, Maseru.

The army, work­ing to­gether with the po­lice, have since opened in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Lt-Gen Motšo­motšo’s as­sas­si­na­tion and more army of­fi­cers have been ar­rested.

Bri­gadier Sechele and Colonel Hashatsi were fin­gered by the 2015 SADC Com­mis­sion of In­quiry in the as­sas­si­na­tion of for­mer army com­man­der, Lt-Gen Maa­parankoe Ma­hao, in June 2015.

The com­mis­sion rec­om­mended that all sol­diers sus­pected to have com­mit­ted se­ri­ous crimes – in­clud­ing the killing of Lt-Gen Ma­hao –be sus­pended from the army and pros­e­cuted in line with in­ter­na­tional best prac­tices.

THE late LDF com­man­der Lt-Gen Khoan­tle Motšo­motšo.

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