Witness says soldiers stalked police investigators

Witness says soldiers stalked police investigators

MASERU – THE High Court heard yesterday that soldiers stalked police officers who were investigating a case in which some men were accused of killing a military intelligence officer. Senior Superintendent Api Letsie from Maseru Central Charge Office told Justice Semapo Peete that soldiers in plain clothes followed the investigators everywhere they went.

One of the investigators, Police Constable Ratsebe, was abducted by unidentified men around May this year and was found two days later bundled and blindfolded near Morija, some 40 kilometres south of Maseru.
Around the same time, three men who were accused of killing the military intelligence officer went missing soon after they were released from police custody without being charged.

Two of the men, Katleho Makibinyane and Molise Pakela, were from Mohale’s Hoek where Letsie told the court that the stalking soldiers were spotted during police investigations.
The two men, who are closely related, were never seen again after they were released from custody in May.
Their families have since sued the commissioner of police and the Lesotho Defence Force commander saying they want them to produce them dead or alive.
Another suspect was a Leribe man, Lekhoele Noko, who was also released from police custody on the same day and was abducted by heavily armed men near Lekokoaneng on his way home.
Noko was in the company of his mother in a bus when two twin-cab vehicles blocked the road and some men entered the bus and seized him.
He was never seen again.

Letsie was testifying in the habeas corpus case of these three families.
The three men were part of a famo gang that was from a funeral on May 13 when it was approached by military intelligence officers at the border gate in Maseru.

The agents, without identifying themselves, wanted to search the gang members for guns.
A gunfight ensued and a soldier was killed together with a street vendor who was hit by a stray bullet while another officer was injured.
Letsie told the court that soon after the fatal incident occurred he was informed that some members of the army were visibly angry.
He said the police took the suspects to Pitso Ground Police Station’s Criminal Investigation Division.
And this was done for their safety.

Letsie said he too saw that the soldiers were angry when he looked at their faces following the shooting incident.
He said they are still searching for the missing men.  “We are still tracing their whereabouts and we do not know where they are,” he told the court.
“We are investigating non-stop and intensively,” Letsie said.

This is the fourth month since the men disappeared. The case is still continuing and more witnesses are yet to be subpoenaed to testify in court.
Justice Peete made it clear that this is an enquiry not a trial. Advocates Litšoanelo Tau and Motikoe Lehooli are appearing for the respondents while the families are being represented by Attorney Khotso Nthontho.

Majara Molupe

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