Top officer testifies how Motšomotšo died

Top officer testifies how Motšomotšo died

MASERU – THE identity of the soldier who was in Lieutenant General Khoantle Motšomotšo’s office when he was shot and killed by his subordinates was finally revealed this week in the court martial. Lieutenant Colonel Mashidi Mashidi, who is the army’s spokesman, told the court martial that he was in the General’s office to give his daily report as a public officer when his two would be murderers arrived.

Major Pitso Ramoepane is being tried in the court martial for mutiny.
Lt Col Mashidi was being led in evidence by Advocate Thulo Hoeane.
He said while he was still in there Colonel Tefo Hashatsi and Brigadier Bulane Sechele entered the office without knocking.
He said it was between 9 and 10am when they entered.

“Sechele saluted Commander Motšomotšo and said we have come as your visitors,” Lt Col Mashidi said.
Lt Col Mashidi said Lt Gen Motšomotšo told the two to wait outside as he was still attending to him but Brig Sechele refused.
“Colonel Hashatsi tried to restrain Brigadier Sechele, pulling his hand and asking him to leave but Brigadier Sechele pulled his hand from Colonel Hashatsi, telling him to leave him alone, “Ntlohelle uena monna,” he said.

At this juncture, Brig Sechele was angry and went towards the Commander and asked him three times why he was selling them out to the police, according to Lt Col Mashili.
“At this time I was shocked at how a junior could talk to his senior like that,” he added.
He said the Commander did not respond but rather he asked them to wait outside and this time Brig Sechele leaned even closer towards the table of the Commander.
“At this point I was very afraid and looked at the gun holster of Brigadier Sechele and found it had no gun but couldn’t see the gun holster of Colonel Hashatsi as he was in the opposite direction,” he said.

While Brig Sechele was leaning towards Lt Gen Motšomotšo, Lt Col Mashidi said this time he called the Commander by his name: “Motšomotšo are you selling us out to the police?”
He said during that tension, Lieutenant Colonel Ndeleni entered the Commander’s office and the whole attention went towards him from every person in the office.
“After that silence, Brigadier Sechele leaned towards Commander Motšomotšo, even more popping the same question, and this time before the Commander could respond Brigadier Sechele unzipped his jacket and took out a gun and shot the Commander,” Lt Col Mashidi said.
“I can’t even remember how many times,” he said.

He said he went down but shortly he got up and ran and realised that at that time all were running towards the door with Brigadier Sechele, Colonel Hashatsi and Ndeleni.
“On my way out while I was about to go through the door outside, I saw a soldier wearing a camouflage uniform firing with a gun toward my direction and I leaned towards the wall and the bullets were passing in front of my eye,” he said.

He said when the shooting stopped he went out of the building running and noticed Colonel Hashatsi lying on the ground.
“As I was running I did not notice if he sustained injuries,” he said.
Cross-examined by Advocate Karabo Mohau, Lt Col Mashidi said Colonel Hashatsi did not take part in the assault that happened on that day.
“I did not see him doing anything,” he said.
The case is continues.

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