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Mob batters ‘sheep thief’ to death



MASERU – Moeketsane Mohlakola, 28, allegedly stole a sheep in a small village of Ha Toloane and went on to prepare a sumptuous meal with his girlfriend, Lineo Keketsi.

But people in the village were incensed when they learnt about it and beat him mercilessly until he died.

Mohlakola’s own chief, Tota Toloane, now stands accused of leading the mob in assaulting the deceased.

He denies the charge.

Keketsi escaped death by a whisker after she was ordered to go back home to collect a pot that was used to cook the stolen meat.

In the meantime, the mobsters continued assaulting Mohlakola.

They also ordered him to carry the sheep’s carcass and its skin on his shoulders while being frog-marched to the chief’s court.

Chief Toloane has however distanced himself from the murder telling thepost yesterday that after his search party found Mohlakola at his lover’s home he instructed the men to take him to his home while he left them for Matsieng.

“We did not beat him with fighting sticks or knobkerries but with just twigs,” the chief said.

“I had instructed the men to tie him together with the carcass and the sheepskin and I left them at my place,” he said.

“When I did not come back on time from Matsieng I telephoned one of them and instructed that they should untie him for

I had realised that he was already tired. Unfortunately when I came back I found him already dead.”

However, Keketsi said it was the chief who first hit Mohlakola with a big stick on the head outside her house after he admitted that he had stolen the sheep.

Keketsi said Mohlakola told the chief that he lied to her saying the meat was from his uncle because he did not want her to know that it was stolen.

She said the chief and his men tied them with ropes and drove them to the chief’s court and all the time they were beating Mohlakola “even when he was pleading with them, saying he had admitted his wrongdoing and was going to repay the stolen sheep”.

“While on the way the chief enquired about the pot that was used to cook the meat and a few men were instructed to accompany me back to my house to collect it,” she said.

Keketsi said when she arrived at the chief’s place with the pot the men were still beating Mohlakola, marching him to his parents’ house where he said he had stored some of the meat.

Mohlakola’s sister, ’Mathato Mosehle, said she saw the mob and heard from her neighbour that it was her brother who was being beaten.

She said she rushed there and found them already at the chief’s kraal.

She said someone later told her that Mohlakola was so tired that he could not move and that was when she went to see what was happening.

When she arrived, Mohlakola was lying down and the ropes had been loosened but he was not moving.

“While still there, and nobody was saying anything to me, I saw a mortuary car arrive and immediately I realised that my brother had died,” she said.

The village’s crime prevention group member, Theleli Pule, said he was not around when Mohlakola was killed but the men told him that they had to take Mohlakola to a nearby river to wash because he had soiled himself.

“I was told this when I arrived at the chief’s court and found that the men together with the suspect were not there. I was told they took him to the river to wash,” he said.

After this, Pule said, he heard that they took him to his parents’ house where he died.

Chief Toloane said he heard that the man died after he drank too much water from the river.

The Morija police commander, Sub-Inspector Motsetsela, said they have not made any arrests because “this is a very difficult case because the incident was done by a mob including the chief so it is a bit tricky to get witnesses for this case”.

Tholoana Lesenya


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