TRC wants militia disarmed

TRC wants militia disarmed

MASERU – THE Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) says it is worried that the security agencies are not doing enough to deal with some militia groups that have emerged in the All Basotho Convention (ABC).
“National security agencies are within their constitutional mandate, it is unnecessary for them to be apologetic to rogue elements in the society but must embrace rule of law, civilian rule supremacy, peace and stability of the country,” the TRC said.
The TRC’s statement comes after the police, army and the National Security Service (NSS) issued a joint statement condemning rogue armed groups that are alleged to have become proxies in the battle between the warring factions in the ABC.

Until last week the existence of the militia within the ABC was a matter of speculation.
Then as the battle for the ABC’s offices intensified, one the factions unleashed a group of armed men clad in SWAT gear to take control of the offices.
The group allegedly broke the office’s door and abducted a private security guard. It is alleged that the gang was sent by former ABC secretary general Samonyane Ntsekele.
The party’s secretary general, Lebohang Hlaele, said one of the men was a well-known police officer.
Other sources said some of the members of the militia could be serving or former soldiers.
The security agents’ statement appeared somewhat conciliatory as it merely called on the groups to stop brandishing guns.

The TRC read that tone to mean that the security agencies were being soft on the groups.
“Inaction by the national security agencies is therefore unacceptable because it is their constitutional mandate to uphold peace and stability in the country and though their involvement may have yielded terrible results in the past that should not be a prohibiting factor,” the TRC said.
The TRC said it is revolting that the political elite in Lesotho, particularly those in government, are the major culprits in causing instability and security crises.
This, it said, “makes us wonder if they (politicians) have learnt anything at all from our troubled past with institutions of security in this country”.

The TRC said the militia groups the security agencies appeared to mollycoddle are being “used as instruments of coercion to cling on to or to acquire power”.
The TRC has also condemned “the use of these institutions for political interests as they belong to the state, neither a particular individual, political party nor government administration”.
It also said the institutions have authority to “discipline their members, retired, fired and otherwise”.
It said the police, army and the NSS have a constitutional obligation to maintain peace and stability.

Majara Molupe

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