Granny gunned down in  row over  sorghum deal

Granny gunned down in row over sorghum deal

MAFETENG – A 69-year-old villager died while her family members that include a toddler are fighting for their lives in hospital following a horrific attack by a young man angered at being asked why he had reneged on a contract to plant sorghum for the family.
’Mantho Makhabane of Matelile lost her life in a gruesome fashion after chastising the young man for failing to fulfil his promise to plant the sorghum.

The young man, who is still to be formally charged in court and can therefore not be identified by his name, has been arrested and is in prison awaiting trial.
He allegedly sneaked into Makhabane’s homestead at night and pumped several bullets into her. He also attacked Makhabane’s 18-year-old granddaughter, Boitumelo Makhabane, whom he shot and hacked with a sharp object, according to the police.

Boitumelo’s toddler, only one year and three months old, was also shot by the angry man and his accomplice. The accomplice is on the run.
Boitumelo and the toddler are in a critical condition at Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital in Maseru.
’Mantho’s daughter-in-law, ’Maboitumelo Makhabane, said the old lady had asked the man to plant sorghum in her field.
The young man instead planted ’Mantho’s sorghum elsewhere and when she confronted him he swore at her, “threatening to make her poop blood”.
This was earlier in October.

As the month drew to an end, ’Mantho was asleep in her bedroom while Boitumelo and the tot were in another room.
’Maboitumelo said Boitumelo told her that she heard footsteps outside and someone stormed into the house.
She managed to see the two men and identified them.

One was holding a gun and another had a sharp metal object in his hand.
The young man who had earlier threatened ’Mantho angrily asked for the old lady and immediately started attacking Boitumelo and the toddler.
Boitumelo rushed to ’Mantho’s room but she was already outside calling for help.
The men came outside and shot her.

The young man was arrested with the help of villagers, while his accomplice fled.
“We are scared to live here but with God’s grace we are surviving as we have protection from the police and the police community forum,” ’Maboitumelo told thepost.
The MP for Mafeteng, Temeki Tšolo, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, said he visited the seriously injured teenage mother and her toddler in hospital.
He said such senseless attacks must stop.

“Hopefully, this is the last time something like this happens. We cannot just sit back and watch these people destroy our country like this,” said Tšolo.
Tšolo said the community has partnered with the police to ensure that those responsible for the killings face the full might of the law.
The cause of the attack does not make sense at all, said Tšolo.

“It shows that the generation of today does not respect their elders and do not respect the law,” the minister said.
The case reinforces Mafeteng’s reputation as the country’s capital of terror.

Tšolo said if it was up to him, he would deploy the military in Mafeteng to search the entire community for guns and other weapons.
Hardly a month ago, Tšolo passed his condolences to a family in the same community after an 83-year-old woman was killed and mutilated in what was believed to be a ritual murder.
Granny ’Masefali Mporoane of Malealea was found dead by her nephew on the morning of September 16, 2018.
She had been raped and killed in her own house in an incident that shocked the community.

About a year earlier, another elderly woman was axed to death by her neighbour who accused her of witchcraft in Ha-Raliemere.
Police say at least one elderly woman is killed each year on suspicion of witchcraft in this community, which has witnessed 10 such murders since 2007.
Social Development Minister ’Matebatso Doti, who has assisted families of victims meet funeral costs, called for a stop “to these merciless killings of our parents”.
Tšolo and Doti have joined hands with the community to campaign against the killings. The campaigns include the street marches by women in the area.

They held another march in Matelile last Sunday to condemn the killing of ’Mantho. Students and police joined in the march.
“This showed us that we are not alone and Basotho are on our side,” ’Maboitumelo said.
Tšolo said he hoped Sunday’s march would send a strong message, noting that the community is living in fear because of the killings.
Causes of killings in Mafeteng range from famo music differences to disputes over the pastures and accusations of witchcraft.

Kefiloe Kajane

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