Dead man rots without burial

Dead man rots without burial

MASERU – THE BODY of a man discovered atop a mountain in November is only being buried this week, highlighting the neglect surrounding the handling of unidentified corpses. “The body was still fresh when I reported to the police about it,” said a vendor who discovered the body on top of Mpilo Mountain and reported the matter to the police.

Yesterday, more than a month after the report, the body still lay there, decomposing and emitting a foul smell.
The case also underlines the hazy nature of the job descriptions of public officials.
From the police to the municipal authorities, no one seems ready to take responsibility.

“It is not our responsibility to remove dead bodies if no crime has been committed,” said police spokesman, Inspector Mpiti Mopeli.
“It is the duty of the municipality to attend to bodies of unknown people in the city,” he said.
“There is nothing we can do,” Maseru City Council spokeswoman ’Makatleho Mosala insisted, saying the police “have to do their duty and report the dead body to the council.

“Ours only is to allocate land for burial once the police say they have a body of an unidentified person and they are done with their investigations,” Mosala said. “We do not attend to the corpses. It is the duty of the police,” she said.
Mopeli, the police spokesman, said police officers only went up the mountain to “investigate”, adding the man “died of natural causes.”
Some say the police’s delay in attending to the corpse denied a chance to comprehensively investigate the cause of death, perhaps even blocked justice if he was murdered.

“It is sad,” said District Administrator, Mpane Nthunya. He said he “has always thought the police and the Social Development Ministry attended to it”. “I am really sorry that we took this long,” said Nthunya, whose agency was arranging for a burial yesterday.

“The body was still fresh when I reported to the police about it,” said the vendor who was among those who discovered the body.
“We could see that he was foaming on the mouth. I wonder why it took them this long to remove it,” he said.
thepost crew went to the mountain and witnessed a scene unfitting for any human being.

He lay on his back, the head slightly twisted to the side, legs bent upwards and hands on the sides of the body.
The scalp has worn-off revealing the white skull. Only half of his head had hair.
On his bony body he wore a winter black jacket on top of a denim jacket and what looked like a woollen track-top inside.
And nobody seemed to care.

Rose Moremoholo

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