Detained soldiers to  be compensated

Detained soldiers to be compensated

MASERU – THE government is considering compensating soldiers who were persecuted, detained and tortured under former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s regime.
Government spokesman Nthakeng Selinyane told thepos–t yesterday that Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s administration has conceded that the soldiers were wronged and therefore deserve some form of compensation.

Selinyane said the family of Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko who was killed in a military raid on police station on August 30, 2014 is also likely to receive compensation.
“The government admits that it owes the Ramahloko family, soldiers who were exiled and those who were tortured in the maximum security prison,” Selinyane said.
About the Ramahlokos, Selinyane said: “What is left is to pay his family as he was killed on duty, so that his family can benefit after their loss.”

Three years ago Ramahloko’s widow, ’Mamonaheng Ramahloko, sued the government for M4 million compensation.
The case is pending in the High Court. Sub-Inspector Ramahloko was killed during a predawn Lesotho Defence Force raid on three Maseru police stations. The army later claimed that the raid was meant to foil the police’s plan to arm civilians.

The army had accused the police of planning to give civilians firearms for use during a Lesotho Congress for Democracy street protest that was scheduled for September 1, 2014.
The raid on the police happened on the day Prime Minister Thabane advised King Letsie III to fire the then army commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli and replace him with then Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao. Brigadier Mahao was then promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General as army commander.

But Lt. Gen Kamoli refused to vacate office, triggering an impasse that was only ended after SADC’s intervention.
The country then spiralled into political instability that led to an election that ushered Mosilili through a seven-party coalition.
One of Mosisili’s first decisions was to demote Lt Gen Mahao to brigadier, remove him as commander and reinstate Lt Gen Kamoli.

A purge that ensued saw dozens of soldiers being rounded up, tortured and detained for allegedly plotting to kill Lt Gen Kamoli.
Lt Gen Mahao was killed in June 2015 in what the army claimed was an operation to arrest him for mutiny.
A SADC commission of inquiry dismissed the army’s explanation that Lt Gen Mahao was resisting arrest.

The commission also concluded that the mutiny charges against the soldiers could have been trumped up.

Nkheli Liphoto

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