Minister’s guard shoots bar owner

Minister’s guard shoots bar owner

MASERU – THE bodyguard to Deputy Home Affairs Minister, Machesetsa Mofomobe, shot and injured a bar owner and two others during a festive season brawl in Quthing.
Malebo Malebo was arrested by soldiers after he rushed to a police station in Quthing with the mob in hot pursuit.
A friend who was with Malebo at the bar, who is a relative to Mofomobe, told thepost that they acted in self-defence.

Neo Ntjana said Malebo ended up shooting because the bar owner had already drawn a pistol and had pointed it at him.
“That’s when Malebo drew his gun and shot the bar owner in the chest,” Ntjana said.
Ntjana said they arrived at the bar on December 27 and bought two bottles of beer with the intention of taking them away.

He said when they opened one bottle it spilled over and they asked for a replacement. The bartender refused to do so, sparking a brawl.
“So, that is where the quarrel started because we asked the bartender to replace that beer with another one but he refused,” Ntjana said.
“We tried to talk to him but in the middle of our communication, the owner of the shop who is also the father of the bartender entered, he also did not talk with us well,” he added.
Ntjana said when they were trying to explain what had happened, the bartender began beating one of them and a fight ensued.

“We got beaten by almost everyone who was in that bar, and those people were about 80, they stabbed us with knives and when I raised up my head I saw the owner of the shop pointing a gun at me, trying to shoot me. It was at that moment when Malebo also took his gun and shot the shop owner in the chest and two others,” he said.
Ntjana said Malebo was however overpowered and the mob seized his gun. The two then decided to flee to a nearby police station.

“When we arrived at the police station the people we were fighting with were already there,” Ntjana said, adding: “We were given medical forms.”
He said Malebo was taken by his superiors “while I was told to come back the following week”.
Ntjana said he is now afraid to go to Quthing, his home district, fearing the people he fought with will attack him.
He was at Mofomobe’s house in Thetsane when he spoke to thepost.

Police spokesman Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli confirmed the incident but said they do not have full details pending investigations.
“The police are investigating the case and once completed, it will be decided if any charges will be preferred or not,” he said.
Mofomobe disassociated himself from the acts of his bodyguard.

He told thepost that Malebo, “did what was not expected of him, he displayed bad behavior and therefore should be dealt with accordingly”.
“I am not taking sides with any person who commits crime,” Mofomobe said.
“If the person is wrong, he is wrong and he has to be charged,” he said.

“This bad behavior of the soldiers should stop, they should not go around beating people like that. We do not like people who misbehave.”
Mofomobe said the downfall of the past coalition government led by Pakalitha Mosisili was triggered by rogue elements within the army and the police who did not respect human life.
“We do not want this government to end like that one of Mosisili,” he said.

He said it is important that the government, together with commanders of the army and the police, should work hard to ensure that rogue elements within the disciplined forces are weeded out.
“We will not tolerate such behaviour by members of our armed forces,” he said.

Thooe Ramolibeli

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