Shock as teen is raped, murdered

Shock as teen is raped, murdered

MASERU – SHE was only 17. Yet, she was gang raped and brutally murdered in Ha-Makhakhe, Matelile, last Sunday. Her lifeless body, with some parts missing, was found stashed in a sack in a shallow donga outside her village of Ha-Makhakhe. The police say Nthabeleng Lesenyeho could have been murdered for ritual purposes. There has been a spate of ritual killings across the country with criminals targeting young children.

The police also suspect the girl could have been killed after she identified the rapists. Two suspects, a village sangoma and another man, have been arrested in connection with the killing. The duo have already appeared before the Mafeteng magistrate’s court for remand. They are each facing charges of rape and murder. Police spokesman Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli confirmed that the body of the dead girl had some missing parts. “The suspects are also from the same area,” Mpiti said.

The girl’s aunt, ’Makarabo Lesenyeho, told thepost this week that Nthabeleng had been sent on an errand by her parents in the same area last Saturday. When she did not come back on time, the parents raised alarm and a search party was launched to look for the girl. ’Makarabo said some within the family had thought that she had eloped. But no one came to their home to report as is expected in Sesotho culture. She said they launched a village search where Nthabeleng’s motionless body was later found in a sack. The body was covered in blood.

The body, she said, had a deep wound on the chest but they could not identify the body as they waited for the police to examine it first. ’Makarabo said there were also some spatters of blood in the surrounding area. “The brutal death of the girl has left us in shock,” ’Makarabo said. Nthabeleng was in Form A at St Thomas High School in the same village of Ha-Makhakhe. Her body was found in the wee hours of Wednesday after an intensive village search was launched. “Some spades were found on the crime scene indicating that they could have been used in the killing,” ’Makarabo said.

She said they are waiting for post mortem results so that they could establish how their daughter died. The deceased was the second child in a family of five children. Her father died in 2011. The deceased was being cared for by her mother. Nthabeleng will be buried in Ha-Makhakhe this Saturday. Supt Mopeli said the suspects have already appeared before Mafeteng magistrate court accused of rape and murder charges. Supt Mopeli said preliminary investigations had revealed that the suspects killed the deceased after realising that she had identified them after raping her.

He said their investigations have also revealed that one of the suspects is a traditional doctor. He bemoaned the killing of the innocent girl. Meanwhile, the Minister of Social Development ’Matebatso Doti led a government delegation to the girl’s home on Monday. The entourage included amongst others the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Temeki Tšolo, and his deputy Leshoboro Mohlajoa. While passing condolences to the bereaved family, Doti said the death of the late Nthabeleng is a regrettable one. She appealed to all males to protect women in the villages.

Doti said schoolboys should ensure that girls are safe when they go to school and when they come back. “Always walk in groups as it is not easy for the rapists and murderers to attack you,” Doti said. She said it is their hope as the government that justice will be done against those involved in the crime as the suspects have already been arrested. The Member of Parliament for Maliepetsane constituency, Mpalipali Molefe, said he is worried by the killings in the area.

He said ritual killings are not common in the area as compared to famo killings, which are on the rise. Molefe said they are going to bury four men in Ha-Makhakhe area who were killed in South Africa during a rival gang groups fighting that took place in the disused mines.

Majara Molupe & ’Majobere Selebalo

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