The damning testimonies

The damning testimonies

MASERU – TEN soldiers are expected to testify during the Court Martial of three soldiers who are accused of plotting mutiny against Lieutenant General Khoantle Motšomotšo. Their damning testimonies will reveal how the deadly plot that saw Lt Gen Motšomotšo was hatched and executed.
The evidence is also expected to reveal what happened in and around his office at the time when he was assassinated.
The government says Lt Gen Motšomotšo was gunned down in his office at Ratjomose Barracks by Brigadier Bulane Sechele who was accompanied by Colonel Tefo Hashatsi. Both Sechele and Hashatsi were shot dead by Lt Gen Motšomotšo’s bodyguards during a shoot-out.

Below are summaries of their statements:

Number 11086 CDO Lance Corporal Mohono

On September 5, 2017 Brigadier Sechele, Colonel Hashatsi and Major Ramoepane arrived at the Command Block where they went to a boardroom and waited as the Commander had a visitor.
After a few minutes the Brigadier and Colonel came from the boardroom in a hurry to the Commander’s office. Before they entered the Commander’s office, Sergeant Seitlheko warned them about the presence of a visitor in the office.
Brig. Sechele replied saying the Commander had called them to come to his office. In his holster there was no weapon. Col Hashatsi had no weapon too. They were allowed in.
Sergeant Seitlheko went to Lieutenant Colonel Ndleleni’s office with surprise. Then Lt. Col. Ndleleni stood up and went to the Commander’s office. I remained (suspicious) when I noticed that movement to the Commander’s office.
I decided to observe this movement from the CCTV room. I heard gun shots from the office and took the position facing the Commander’s office door to see what would appear from that door.
Lt. Col. Ndleleni appeared from the main door shouting: “It is Sechele!” I warned him to move away so I could engage them. But the Brigadier and the Colonel ran out of the office followed by ’M’e Palesa Mahamo who fell on the ground when I was firing at the two.

 

Number 9432 Sergeant Hashe

On September 5, 2017 I arrived at the military intelligence office at around 6.30am and collected daily reports as usual. At 8.30am I called Major Ramoepane on his mobile phone. He was at Ratjomose. The call was a follow-up on my application for a firearm licence at the police headquarters.
Major Ramoepane tasked me to find out about the three Special Forces soldiers who were to report to the police on that day even though they had been released by the LDF command. The task was to identify the police station they were to report to.
On my way from the police headquarters Lance Corporal Molupe phoned me from the military intelligence office saying the commander had been killed by Brig Sechele and Col Hashatsi.
Upon arrival at the office, I called Major Ramoepane, to whom I report directly, but he dropped my call without answering. After some 40 minutes he called back saying he was at Makoanyane Military Hospital and that he was not feeling well.
He told me he had received a call from Brig. Sechele in the morning giving him an order to go to the Command Block. He said upon arrival at the Command Block he asked the bodyguards about Brig. Sechele’s whereabouts but he immediately phoned him saying he had seen him and he was coming to him.
Major Ramoepane said Brigadier Sechele told him that he was going to confront the commander about the three soldiers who were to be taken to the police.

Number 9595 Major Linale

On September 9, 2017 I was assigned to arrest Number 11283 Captain Nyakane in connection with his actions on September 5, 2017 that made him a suspect in the assassination of Lieutenant General Khoantle Motšomotšo.
I took section from the standby platoon at Makoanyane Barracks and arrested him at the offices of the Military Intelligence. He took us to his white Corolla. We searched it and found a 245.RM.62911 9mm pistol, 13x9mm rounds on magazine+20 loose 9mm rounds=33 rounds, 02x9mm pistol magazine, 03x cell phones, MP5, S/N0 – 28860 with 132 rounds on magazine, 06XMP5 rifle magazine, Testo Tribulus (tablets), a bottle of water, 01x silencer, scuff, energizer torch, 02x hand grenades (M32), torch, 03x sunglasses, balaclava and 02x bandages.

Number 82249 Private Ratšiu

On September 4, 2017 Lieutenant Jane called me saying I should report myself at the Deputy Commander’s office on the following day. He said I would find Corporal Sebolai who would take us to the Deputy Commander’s office.
I called Private Matsoso asking him if he had received a similar message. At around 6pm Corporal Sebolai called me saying our officers wanted to meet us. Corporal Sebolai said Private Matsoso and me would find him waiting for us near Makoanyane Primary School.
I arrived before Private Matsoso. When he finally arrived Corporal Sebolai made a phone call reporting that we had arrived.
We went to the canteen and bought drinks, leaving Corporal Sebolai in the car. (A page that continues the testimony is missing. The next page deals with how they went to the police headquarters and later heard a report that Lt. Gen. Motšomotšo, Brig. Sechele and Col. Hashatsi had been killed).

Number 11505 Corporal Sebolai

On September 4, 2017 Lieutenant Jane called me saying I, Private Ratsiu and Private Matsoso should report at the Deputy Commander’s office on the following day in the morning. I asked him if we would be taken there by the office or we should go there ourselves.
At around 6pm on the same day Major Ramosie called me saying we should report at the office. At around 7pm Colonel Hashatsi called me asking if I was aware that on the following day we were to report to the police.
I told him that Lieutenant Jane said we were going to the Deputy Commander’s office. He told me that we were going to the police. He called me again later saying he wanted to meet us.
He said he was with Brigadier Sechele and Captain Fonane and Captain Nyakane. We went to Colonel Hashatsi’s home. (At the meeting we were advised that) we should not agree to go to the police.
Brigadier Sechele said Major General Poopa got angry with him when he provided legal advice. They told us that if we agreed to go to the police we were not going to come back just as the Prime Minister and the police had said.

We were now afraid to go to the police. On the following day, myself and other soldiers reported at the office and Lieutenant Jane took us to the Deputy Commander’s office. I went to the CPT office where I found Captain Fonane who said I should wait for Major Ramosie.
He took us to the Deputy Commander’s office where we were instructed to report to the police. When we raised issue that we were afraid to go, the Deputy Commander assured us that nothing bad was going to happen to us.
When we came out of the office, Colonel Hashatsi called me and asked if we had agreed to go to the police. (Other pages missing)

Number 54964 CDO Private Matsoso

On September 4, 2017, Second Lieutenant ’Mako called me and said I should report to the office on the following day so that I could go to the Deputy Commander’s office. On the same evening I was called by Corporal Sebolai saying our superiors wanted to meet us.
I met Corporal Sebolai and Private Ratsiu near Makoanyane Primary School. We waited in his car and he received a call after which he directed us to go and wait for others at the canteen.

We bought two bottles of beer at the canteen and soon Colonel Hashatsi entered, bought airtime and left.
When we later went to Private Ratsiu’s car we met Private Masiloane who had parked next to us. We told him that we were going to meet our superiors about what we encountered when we were guarding at the former commander, General Kamoli’s home. Private Ratsiu received a call inviting us to Colonel Hashatsi’s home.

Upon arrival there we found Brigadier Sechele, Colonel Hashatsi, Captain Fonane and Captain Nyakane. Brigadier Sechele told us that we were going to be instructed to report to the police by the Deputy Commander.
He said he did not recommend that we go there because the police had summoned the former Defence Minister for questioning and they tortured him until his ribs broke.

He said the police wanted him to give them the names of all soldiers who had issues at the police. He said they wanted such soldiers so that they die during interrogations. Brigadier Sechele asked if that was what we wanted and we said no.
Colonel Hashatsi also said he did not want us to go to the police because we would die during interrogation. They asked us as individuals if we wanted to go to the police and we said no.

On the following day Major Ramosie took us to the Deputy Commander who assured us that nothing bad would happen to us at the police. Major Ramosie undertook to take us to the police. While we were about to get into the car Corporal Sebolai answered a call and said Colonel Hashatsi wanted to talk to Major Ramosie.

They met in Colonel Hashatsi’s car. Major Ramosie came back and we were driven to the police. While we were sitting outside the office at the police a call was received that informed us that the army commander had been ambushed and had been killed together with Brigadier Sechele while Colonel Hashatsi was seriously injured.

Number 10932 CDO Captain Malefane

On September 5, 2017 I went to the Commander to find out if there could be any activities of the day but he said there was nothing.
I left the office to our CCTV room located in the block. In a short while I called Corporal Mosenene to come and be in the room because I wanted to go to the wash room and also outside for a while to warm my leg in the sun.
I noticed Major Ramosie walk from the Deputy Commander’s office with Corporal Sebolai, Private Ratsiu and Private Matsoso. He said he was taking them to the police. I noticed Brigadier Sechele and Colonel Hashatsi coming.

Majara Molupe

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