Mokhosi defends army

Mokhosi defends army

MASERU – this week defended the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) against attacks by critics who accuse the army of violating human rights.

Speaking during a state-owned Radio Lesotho current affairs programme, Seboping, the minister said the majority of Lesotho’s soldiers are disciplined professionals whose conduct is above board.

Mokhosi said only a few might have committed crimes and will be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the land.

The minister said soldiers who violate the law are dragged to the courts like everybody else and it would therefore be unfair to label the entire army rogue.
He said those who lack patriotism “will continue to tarnish the image of the army” instead of seeing it as their own that is serving the people of Lesotho.

Mokhosi’s remarks came barely a week after the family of former Lesotho army commander Maaparankoe Mahao described the Amnesty Bill 2016 as a tool to defeat the ends of justice.
Mahao was shot dead in June 2015 during an operation the army said was meant to arrest him for allegedly being part of a mutiny plot.

A SADC commission of inquiry set up to investigate the death concluded that Mahao was murdered. The commission recommended thorough investigations and the prosecution of those involved in his killing.

Mahao’s brother, Professor Nqosa Mahao, last week told the media that the Amnesty Bill is meant to promote impunity.

The Mahao family said it had sent a letter of appeal to SADC heads of state asking them to intervene to push the government of Lesotho to speed up investigations into their son’s death.

The government tabled the Amnesty Bill in Parliament last November. The Bill will seek to stop criminal investigations and prosecution of soldiers, police, prison warders, secret security agents and civilians who could have committed crimes between January 2007 and December 2015.

Staff Reporter

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