Police, army smoke peace pipe

Police, army smoke peace pipe

MASERU – THE Commissioner of Police Molibeli Holomo says it is embarrassing that relations between the army and the police were so toxic that they needed SADC forces to intervene. Holomo was speaking at a meeting to rebuild peace and trust among the security agencies last Friday.

The meeting was attended by the army, the police, the National Security Service and the Correctional Service. The police and the army are trying to mend bridges after years of strife that helped precipitate political and social instability. For years the army had been seen as aligned to the congress parties while the police were viewed to be in the All Basotho Convention’s corner.

Commissioner Holomo said it is time to bury the hatchet and work together to achieve sustainable peace. He said it was humiliating that Lesotho had to seek SADC’s intervention to deal with its instability. “I am seriously appealing to you, dear colleagues in the security agencies, to stop these things,” Commissioner Holomo said. “Let us refrain from these clashes. It is not good that foreigners are brought in to solve our problems.”

“We are very capable of building our peace without the involvement of foreigners.” Close to 300 SADC soldiers and police officers are on a peace mission in the country. Invited by the government, the team is here to maintain peace as Lesotho implements political and security reforms recommended by SADC.

The clashes between the army and the police manifested themselves in 2012 after bombings at the then commissioner of police’s home, Kothatso Tšooana. The home of the then Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s girlfriend was also bombed. The police pointed fingers at the army. The army resisted when the police tried to investigate its senior officers.

The standoff reached its apogee in August 2014 when the army raided the police headquarters at night and killed a senior police officer, in what Thabane described as a flopped coup. In the following year, the army killed Commander Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao and refused to cooperate with the police investigation.

Staff Reporter

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