Minister wants police to shoot to kill suspects

Minister wants police to shoot to kill suspects

MAFETENG – THE Minister in Prime Minister’s Office Temeki Tšolo says security agents must shoot to kill when dealing with crime suspects, even if it means doing so in broad daylight in front of the public.
Killing suspects, he says, will scare other people from committing crime he said, in statements that could draw a backlash from human rights groups who believe this could amount to extra-judicial killings.
Tšolo said such force is necessary given the pain that communities are facing due to rising crime.

“We will not tolerate these brutal killings of the innocent elderly and women,” he said last Sunday in Ha-Raliemere, where villagers prayed for divine intervention to end lawlessness rocking the village.
Before the prayer meeting, a group of women marched for about four kilometers from Ha-Lumisi chanting: “It is time to turn to each other and not on each other.”

It is estimated that since 2016, a dozen women have been killed in the crime-infested village.
The village is infamous for killings of people who are suspected of witchcraft, especially elderly women.
Neighbours also often turn on each other with fatal consequences over trivial differences.

The service was organised by Barali le Lingoetsi tsa Makaota (the Mafeteng Daughters and Daughters-in-law), a small association formed by women in the district.
Dressed to impress, the women were resplendent in yellow attire, a colour often used to identify Mafeteng people from other districts.
The chairperson of the association, Palesa Nkhabu, said the association was launched in 2016 to address problems such as unemployment and other social ills in the district.

Tšolo, who is also the Mafeteng constituency MP, said villagers are living in fear despite several meetings in the past to deal with crime in the area.
Criminals in the area possessed guns similar to those used by security agents.
Perpetrators are usually freed soon after arrest and are seen roaming the streets, leaving villagers questioning the effectiveness of the justice delivery system.

“Enough is enough,” thundered Tšolo.
“A dog is killed in a dog-shed if found stealing,” said Tšolo in reference to a Sesotho adage meaning thieves should be killed if they are caught.
Tšolo called the Defence Minister Tefo Mapesela and put him on speaker-phone for the Raliemere villagers to hear for themselves his promises.
Tšolo asked Mapesela to deploy the army in the village to maintain peace and stability.

He promised to talk to Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela to deploy the soldiers in the village.
“The government has to deploy the army in the district to bring peace and tranquility,” Mapesela said.
“These soldiers are fed by the government to do their job,” he said.
Tšolo said the “soldiers should not come here after drinking beer because l can’t imagine what will happen here”.
He said the army should come and execute their duty diligently, also criticising the police for torturing innocent villagers.

Tšolo was referring to last month’s police raid in the village in which scores of men claimed they were tortured by the police during a raid by the police’s Special Operations Unit (SOU) during a pre-dawn raid on the village to search for guns.
The Principal Chief of Likhoele, Chief Lerotholi Seeiso, advised Ha-Raliemere people to shun crime.
“If you do not want the police to come here, then stop the crime,” Chief Seeiso said.
He said numerous efforts to advise locals to shun crime had fallen on deaf ears.

“You know for sure those who are behind the crimes,” the chief said.
Chief Seeiso said Ha-Raliemere used to be a respectable village before crime took root.
The chief advised Barali le Lingoetsi tsa Makaota to register their association with the Law Office so that funds could be solicited to help it grow.
He pledged to contribute M10 000 from his personal purse if the association is legally registered so that it could be used as a vehicle to pay for the education of orphans in the village.

Police Inspector ’Mamosa Maile from the Mafeteng Police described Ha-Raliemere as “a beautiful village whose water is sour”.
She said police are worried about rising crime in the village.
The local councillor, ’Macolise Setaka, said at times she feels like leaving the area in fear of her life because of escalating crime.
“We hope with this prayer session today the village will heal,” she said.
Likhoele MP Molefi Phamotse said the killings in the village have been triggered by retaliations amongst villagers.

Phamotse said villagers should focus on developmental projects.
“There are large tracts of land that could be ploughed for people to put their hunger at bay so that communities do not dabble in crime,” Phamotse said.
Orphans were showered with food parcels and cosmetics which were contributed by members of the association.

Majara Molupe


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