Five women shot dead

Five women shot dead

MASERU – THE gunmen moved from house-to-house, mowing down all they met in Rothe Ha-Mokaoli under cover of darkness on Monday night.
By the following morning, at least five women had been shot dead, with another woman sustaining serious injuries.
The police say they have now launched a search for the attackers who are suspected to have crossed the nearby Mohokare River into South Africa.

The injured woman is battling for her life at Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital under the watchful eyes of the police.
Police spokesman Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said the cause of the attack is not yet known.
But their preliminary investigations have uncovered that the cause could be family conflicts, which are common in the area.
“We will wait for the investigation to be completed before speculating on a motive,” Mopeli said.

He said it was only last week when another woman was shot dead in the same area.
He said there is unrest and lots of family feuds in the area, leading to loss of lives.
Superintendent Mopeli said their findings have also unearthed that big and small guns were used in the fatal shooting.

“Pump actions, 9mms and 7.65mm were used in the bloody attack,” he said.
Superintendent Mopeli said the fatal incident happened just around 7pm.
The fatal shooting has left the community in shock.

The MP for Rothe, Mohapinyane Mohapi, said the conflicts in the area date as far back as 2000.
He said public gatherings have been held in the past to urge the community to bury the hatchet.
He said there are rival groups in the area who are the major players in the killings.

Mohapi said the killings are fuelled by rival famo gangs.
While most of the famo gangs originate from Mafeteng district they appear to have spread across the country.
Mohapi said the police often frequent the area to hold peace talks between the two groups.
He said the people involved said they have built peace.

He said after just a week of the “peaceful” talks, one woman was shot dead.
Mohapi said some residents escaped the attack unscathed while some homes were smashed with a car being torched.
“The suspects come and go making it difficult to bring them before courts of law,” the MP said.

Asked what measures he has taken to bring peace and stability in the strife-torn area, Mohapi said he has since reported the unrest when he was elected MP in June last year.
He said following the fatal shootings on Monday, the police have been deployed in the area.
This was after Communications Minister Chief Thesele ’Maseribane, Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli and his deputy Keketso Monaheng visited the place.

Chief ’Maseribane was representing the government. Mohapi said the police are mulling to have permanent police stations in the area.
The Principal Chief of Rothe, Chief Bereng Mohlalefi Bereng, said Monday’s killings brought the number of such murders to 14 this year alone.
Chief Bereng said the conflicts in the area have a long history and are connected to famo gangs.

He said his subjects are living in fear. He said while the people would go to the police to settle their differences in the past nowadays they resort to killing each other.

Majara Molupe

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