Senior army officer arrested

Senior army officer arrested

MASERU – A SENIOR army officer with the rank of Major has been arrested in connection with the bloody shootout at Ratjomose Barracks on Tuesday.
The commander of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), Lieutenant General Khoantle Motšomotšo, Brigadier Bulane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi were shot dead during the fatal incident.
Motšomotšo and Sechele died instantly while Hashatsi died after a couple of hours.
thepost has withheld the names of the army officer, who is serving in the military intelligence.
Prime Minister Thomas Thabane confirmed the three deaths at a press conference on Tuesday.
Thabane sent a message of condolences to the bereaved families.

The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Defence and National Security, Tanki Mothae, confirmed the arrest of the army officer.
But he declined to disclose his names saying investigations were still in progress.
He said the army officer is helping the police with investigations over the fatal shooting.

thepost however understands that the army officer was nabbed by his colleagues shortly after the incident.
Sources say another army officer who was involved in the shootout at Ratjomose Barracks is still on the run.
Meanwhile, a SADC Ministerial Double Troika comprising four ministers and military experts, will be deployed to Lesotho to undertake a fact-finding mission effectively from today to Sunday.
This is after the SADC secretariat received disturbing reports of the fatal shootings at the LDF barracks.

The Ministerial Double Troika will be accompanied by defence and security chiefs from the Double Troika member states.
The fact-finding mission will be assisted by the Executive Secretary of SADC and the SADC secretariat.
Thabane also indicated that investigations are still in progress.
He said the media will be informed in due course over the incident.
He said the army is now under control.

Major General Lineo Poopa, the most senior officer, has since been appointed the acting commander.
Thabane denied allegations that he skipped the country after the shootout.
“I did not go anywhere. I will never flee again,” he said.

Thabane along with the Minister of Public Service, Chief Thesele ’Maseribne fled the country in 2015 claiming their lives were in danger.
They were later joined by the Minister of Labour and Employment Keketso Rantšo.
The three only returned home earlier this year to contest the elections that saw former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili being booted out of power on June 3.
Thabane said his government yearns for peace and stability in the country.

In the meantime, three army officers who were involved in the fatal shooting of Lisebo Tang were summoned by the police on Tuesday morning.
These army officers were on guard at the former army commander’s home, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, in Ha Leqele on May 1, 2014 when the fatal incident occurred.
Tang was shot dead while her boyfriend, Tšepo Jane, survived with serious injuries.
He was admitted at Makoanyane Military Hospital.
Following the shooting, no arrests were made.

The failure of police to arrest the suspects at the time raised concerns among members of the public.
During a press conference held at Makoanyane Barracks weeks after the shooting, Kamoli said they went to the deceased’s family to pass their message of condolences.
He said they even helped the bereaved family with some funeral preparations.
The army compensated the deceased’s family with M10 000.
They also built them a three-roomed house.

Police spokesman inspector Mpiti Mopeli said the army officers will be called again when they need them.
The three soldiers were released on the same day. Mopeli said the case against those army officers has since been opened.
But it has not yet been filed at the courts pending investigations.

Army spokesperson Brigadier Ntlele Ntoi was not available on his phone to comment on the appearance of the soldiers before the police.
Ntoi earlier said they could not release army officers who are suspected of various crimes because police usually torture them.
The army officers who appeared before the police this week were released without being tortured.

Majara Molupe

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