Poopa grilled

Poopa grilled

MASERU-FORMER acting Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) commander Major General Lineo Poopa was this week interrogated for two days as the police continue to investigate several crimes committed by the army.  Maj Gen Poopa, who has since retired, was called by the police last week but the interrogation started on Tuesday this week and yesterday.

thepost can reveal that the Major General was being quizzed in connection with cases of treason and the July 2015 killing of Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao. The treason case centres on the military raid on the State House and police stations in August 2014. It was however not clear if the police were questioning him as a suspect or a source with crucial information on the cases.

Police spokesman Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli confirmed that Maj Gen Poopa was called for interrogation but refused to give further details.
Superintendent Mopeli said Maj Gen Poopa did not sleep in police holding cells but was allowed to return to his home and came the following day.
Maj Gen Poopa is the second most senior soldier to be questioned in connection with several crimes committed by the army during the chaotic period between 2014 and 2016.

The most senior was retired army commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli who is already in custody awaiting trial for a battery of attempted murder charges and one of murder.

Several other soldiers have been arrested over the past eight months in connection with various crimes. A senior government official who requested anonymity told thepost last night that Maj Gen Poopa will not be the last senior officer to be questioned.

“There will be more who will be asked to answer questions because the investigations are still going on. These are broader investigations and cases are more than those in the public domain,” he said.

The source said the police have also reopened the cold case of, Samuella Jacobina Verwey, a Dutch aid worker who was shot dead in 2006.
Although an investigation into the murder of the Clinton Foundation employee had stalled the police have always suspected that some soldiers were involved.

“The idea is to deal with every case in which the army was suspected to have been involved so that we have finality and close that chapter. Now that there is a window of opportunity we should investigate every case,” the source said.

Maj Gen Poopa was appointed acting army commander after the death of Lt Gen Khoantle Motšomotšo who was shot by his officers at Ha Ratjomose Barracks on September 5, 2017. He died along with the two senior army officers, Brigadier Bulane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi, who are alleged to have attacked him.

Maj Gen Poopa retired in February. He was replaced by Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela, the current army commander. Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Colonel Tanki Mothae last month said the government was planning to deploy him elsewhere. But he could not tell where exactly he would be deployed.

Unconfirmed reports said he would be deployed to Malaysia as Ambassador.

Majara Molupe

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