Thabane pleads with army

Thabane pleads with army

MASERU-PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane has pleaded with the army not to hurt the public as they enforce the country’s 21-day lockdown.
Thabane named the lockdown “Operation Save Lives”.
The Prime Minister officially launched the operation on Saturday, a day before the start of the lockdown which went into force Sunday midnight.
Lesotho’s army, which has a well-documented history of meddling in politics, has also been in spotlight for human rights violations.

Critics accuse the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) soldiers of having an appetite for brutality.
Thabane told the soldiers that the operation was meant to save the lives of people who are at the risk of contracting Covid-19. He said the security agencies must not beat up people.
To stop the spread of the virus, the government last week imposed a 21-day lockdown that will see Basotho being confined in their homes.
He ordered the security forces to ensure that Basotho’s lives are protected from this pandemic by staying at home.

“It is for the benefit of the entire nation,” Thabane said.
“I command soldiers and other security institutions to go to work and make sure that the people are protected.”
He said the lockdown will also give husbands a chance to stay with their families.
Thabane further ordered the army to do their work with diligence and respect fellow citizens.
Thabane said he was sure he was still going to get reports that civilians had been beaten during the operation.

His comments put into sharp focus the negative perception people have over the army.
Thabane said this operation will not require the use of guns as it is only meant to protect the people.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police Holomo Molibeli said they were ready to “help people comply” with the Prime Minister’s orders as lives are involved.

He said all businesses which do not offer essential services should remain closed during the lockdown.
“The army and police will join hands to see that this operation becomes a success,” Commissioner Molibeli said.
He said the operation will extend even to the remotest villages in Lesotho.

Commissioner Molibeli said the coronavirus was not a joke as it was already wreaking havoc in most parts of the world.
As of Tuesday, the disease had infected over 850 000 people with over 42 000 dead worldwide.

Commissioner Molibeli said Basotho should work together with the police, army and the Ministry of Health to deal with the pandemic.
The police boss warned food and pharmacy outlets not to take advantage of the current state and increase prices of drugs and medicines.
“Basotho should call (us) where there is a case of increased prices,” Commissioner Molibeli said.

He said the Covid-19 donations given to Lesotho should not be sold adding that those who would sell them should know that they would be breaking the law.
He said the police and army should work in peace so that they do not cause pain to the nation.

Nkheli Liphoto

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