Mahaos to form ‘victims association’

Mahaos to form ‘victims association’

MASERU – THE family of slain former army commander Maaparankoe Mahao is leading the formation of an association of what it says are victims of brutality by the army.
The purpose of the association would be to ensure justice is served after realising that “no single family can win this war alone”.
Speaking at a press conference in Maseru on Tuesday, Professor Nqosa Mahao said the Mahao family became aware that “there are families of victims that do not have enough strength and we felt that it is better that we join hands with them”.

He said the Mahao family also found that it cannot maintain the same fighting strength for long if it fights alone hence the wisdom to incorporate other families whose members have died at the hands of the government. “We have found that some were compensated with a meagre M10 000 for their member’s death but the important requirement for justice to be done was ignored,” Mahao said.

One of the families whose member was killed by the army is Sub Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko who was represented at the press conference by Mosito Ramahloko.
Ramahloko pledged to fight until justice is served. Sub Inspector Ramahloko was killed at the police headquarters on August 30, 2014 when the army attacked police stations and the State House.

Former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane claimed the attack amounted to an attempted coup, a charge the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) has denied. The army said the raids were meant to disarm police officers who had been given arms of war to cause mayhem in Maseru. At the time of the attack, the then coalition government led by Thabane was on the brink of collapse after he fell out with his deputy Mothetjoa Metsing.

Metsing was at the time in talks with Pakalitha Mosisili’s Democratic Congress (DC) party to form a new coalition government. Metsing and Mosisili were at the time planning a massive protest march against the government because Thabane had prorogued parliament to avoid a vote-of-no-confidence. The army said the raid on the police stations was meant to disarm rogue elements within the police who wanted to give the guns to Thabane’s supporters to fight the demonstrators.

The police were said to be backing Thabane while the army was rallying behind Metsing and Mosisili. Mahao said Mohau Qobete, a security guard, was gunned down near the Ministry of Education headquarters when the army attacked Thabane’s bodyguards in 2014. He said Qobete was caught up in the cross-fire when the army attacked Thabane’s bodyguards.
The other family that was mentioned at the press conference was that of Puseletso Pelesa, a woman whose family say was killed with a spade by some soldiers in Qacha’s Nek.
Other families that were not mentioned by name include those whose members were shot by soldiers in Mafeteng and a 21-year-old woman who was gunned down near the home of former army boss Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli in Ha-Leqele.

Government spokesman, Communications Minister Serialong Qoo said the government is trying to ensure that there is justice for everyone.
“To the best of my understanding, we have the police who are doing their utmost to help anybody without discrimination,” Qoo said.

Staff Reporter

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