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Matelile man battered to death over gun



MASERU – A GROUP of rowdy soldiers allegedly beat a man to death in Matelile, Ha-’Maliepetsane, in Mafeteng district on Tuesday.
The deceased was assaulted with sticks and a pickaxe handle.

Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli confirmed the death last night.

“We are yet to get the graphic details of what happened,” S/Supt Mopeli said.

“However, our preliminary investigations have shown that he died while the army was interrogating him in connection to the guns that were allegedly found in his possession,” he said.

’Maliepetsane is a crime-riddled area where three men were shot by an unknown gunman who disappeared into the darkness a fortnight ago.
One of the three men was confirmed dead upon arrival at the Mafeteng Government Hospital while others escaped death by a whisker.

The father of the deceased, Khoathane Mohajane, said the death of his son, who was 28, had left them “torn apart and emotionally raptured”.
Narrating the ordeal, Mohajane said when they woke up on Tuesday morning their village was surrounded by a band of soldiers.

He said the soldiers had a list of young men whom they claimed were in possession of illegal guns.

“There were five men on the list,” Mohajane said.

Mohajane said the soldiers beat this group of young men to a pulp as they demanded that they hand over the guns to them.

“The other four men handed over their firearms,” he said.

But his son, Didi Mohajane, told the soldiers that he was not in possession of any gun.

“This was like adding paraffin to a fire because the torture only intensified,” he said.

He said the soldiers drew water from the village tap and poured it over his son.
And the inhumane beating continued unabated, he said.

Mohajane said he asked the soldiers to give him a chance to ask his son to hand over the gun to them if he had any but the son insisted he had no gun.
At the time his son was bleeding all over the body.

“The soldiers told me it is not their first time to see a criminal pretending to be innocent,” Mohajane said.

He said the soldiers left with the young men and later came back.
When they came back they left the others and left again with his son saying they were taking him to hospital.

“I believe it was already late for my son when they took him to the hospital,” Mohajane said.

He said his son was a commercial farmer who helped to put bread on the table for the family.
Mohajane said he was not in a position to bury his son alone.

He said he is facing twin problems of burying his son and putting bread on the table.
Mohajane insisted his son did not have a gun.

Chiefs in the area called on the army to deploy the soldiers in the area so that they could fight the rampant killings.The army’s spokesperson, Captain Sakeng Lekola, confirmed that one person died where they were operating.

“We have sent a delegation of officers to establish what really happened,” Captain Lekola said.

He said the operation was successful in that three rifles were confiscated from wrong hands.

“We are yet to know how the death happened,” he said, adding that they could “not deny that a life was lost where we were operating”.

Staff Reporter


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