Army ‘disciplines’ rogue herdboys

Army ‘disciplines’ rogue herdboys

MASERU – THE army last week “disciplined” some rogue herd boys who were grazing their livestock on reserved pastures in Mafeteng Thaba- Tšoeu Ha-Mafa.
Witnesses said soldiers beat up the herd boys before confiscating the animals. But an army spokesman denied the beatings, saying soldiers only confiscated the animals and handed them over to the local traditional leadership
The drama happened on Thursday morning when soldiers in a white van stormed the place unannounced.
Some herd boys managed to escape but those who were less fortunate were left to face the music, according to those who said they witnessed the incident.
The herd boys were ordered to roll on the ground several times while being kicked all over their bodies, one witness said.

The soldiers seized the animals and handed them over to the chief for custody.
The local chief, ’Mamojalefa Mahao, told thepost that the herd boys were grazing the animals on the reserved area without her consent.
And they were refusing to drive them away even when locals asked them to.
She said the soldiers only came to help her remove the herd boys from the reserved area.
Sources that spoke to thepost said a day before the army intervention, the herd boys were still letting the animals graze on the area despite orders by locals to move.

Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) spokesman, Lt Colonel Mashidi Mashidi, said the soldiers were patrolling the area and approached the chief to ask her if things were in order in her village.
He said the chief told the soldiers her major problem in the area were the rogue herd boys.
He said the chief made the statement while pointing at the boys.
Lt Col Mashidi said the herd boys fled the scene when they saw the army officers approaching.
He dismissed reports that the soldiers assaulted the herd boys.
“When they saw the army coming they ran away,” Lt Col Mashidi said, adding that the soldiers only impounded the animals and left them in the hands of the chief.

However, some of the herd boys interviewed by thepost claimed that they were assaulted by the soldiers with their own fighting sticks.
They said the soldiers were infuriated by insults hurled at them by some of the herd boys when they tried to take the animals away.
Conflicts between villagers over pastures are rampant in Mafeteng district, particularly during Easter and Christmas holidays. Often such conflicts result in the loss of lives.
Security agents are usually on high alert for such conflicts during these periods.

Majara Molupe


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