Army boss pledges to ‘protect’ Litjobo

Army boss pledges to ‘protect’ Litjobo

MASERU – Lieutenant General Khoantle Motšomotšo allegedly pledged to protect Thuso Litjobo, the Alliance of Democrats (AD)’s controversial youth league leader, who says he is fearing for his life after being stalked by unnamed soldiers.
Lt General Motšomotšo is said to have made the promise after Litjobo’s family pleaded for his help.

The family told a press conference on Tuesday that it was afraid that “some rogue soldiers” had been hired to kill the firebrand youth leader.
Litjobo’s brother Refiloe Litjobo, a Democratic Congress (DC) proportional representation MP, said the family strongly believes that Litjobo’s life might be in danger.
Refiloe said the family’s fears grew after realising some soldiers and police in plain clothes were constantly stalking Litjobo.

He said from February 1 to 3 “the family spotted some unidentified members of the LDF and LMPS driving vehicles that are similar to those being driven by the officers who arrested Thuso on January 15, 2017 parked at the private residence of Thuso”.

“The family learned that the members of the two security services were instructed to kidnap, torture and ultimately assassinate Thuso Litjobo,” Refiloe said.
He said Motšomotšo gave them an assurance that he took their report seriously and he will do “everything possible” to protect Litjobo.

The family’s fears were heightened after one of Litjobo’s friends, Nkuebe Marole, the AD’s treasurer in Litjobo’s Koro-Koro constituency, reported to them that  the soldiers and police who arrested and tortured him wanted him to tell them where Litjobo and Machesetsa Mofomobe were.

Mofomobe is the spokesman for the Basotho National Party (BNP) which is working with the AD, All Basotho Convention (ABC) and Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) to oust Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili through a vote of no confidence in parliament.

Marole was arrested and allegedly tortured on January 18, on the same night the police and soldiers in plain clothes who refused to identify themselves visited the Lesotho Times offices.
They allegedly said they were looking for Machesetsa and Litjobo.

Mofomobe was in the newspaper’s offices for an interview. Marole said during his ordeal the men threatened to kill him if he did not tell them where they could find the two politicians.

“They took me to Matamong (sewage dams at the Maseru West Industrial Area) instead of taking me to a police station to be charged for any crime I could have committed,” Marole told thepost.
“That was where I was tortured. They later took me to Ha-Thetsane where they continued assaulting me, wanting me to tell them where Litjobo and Machesetsa were,” he said.
It is this report that made the Litjobo family seek protection from the army boss whom they said “is easily spoken to and he even gave us his cell phone number so that we can call him should a need arise”.

Refiloe has however said the family was hesitating to report the matter to the police, accusing the commissioner Molahlehi Letsoepa of being uncooperative.
“He hung on me when I tried to call him and I wondered why he did so. I can only speculate,” he said.

Police spokesman Superintendent Clifford Molefe said he was yet to find out if there is any complaint or a report from the Litjobo family.
He said at present there is nothing he can say until the Litjobos have complained or officially reported crime for investigation.

Refiloe said the family discovered after Marole’s ordeal that “the mission to kidnap Thuso (Litjobo) was still going to happen”.
“Our apprehension was that the arrest is not meant to achieve a lawful end, this is why even those carrying out the arrest refuse to identify themselves,” Refiloe said.
Three weeks ago a band of police officers who allegedly refused to identify themselves stormed Litjobo’s house in Ha-Thamae in Maseru.
Instead of taking him to any of the local police stations they took him to the rural Mokhalinyane station, some 30 kilometres south of the city.

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