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Police worried over incessant gun killings


Sekete Lesaoana

The Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) has expressed concern over gun killings and associated crimes that are continuing unabated around the country.

Police deputy spokesperson Inspector ‘Mareabetsoe Mofoka, recently told journalists that most of their criminal reports were consistently involving gun killings and illegal gun possession.

She, therefore, pleaded with members of the public to cooperate with the police in order to get rid of illegal firearms from the community.

 She said a 36-year-old Mpinane Mapana from Ha Matjeka in Mafeteng appeared before the Magistrate court on January 23 on charges of illegal possession of a 7.65 firearm with eight bullets.

Inspector Mofoka said the suspect was found guilty and sentenced to two years imprisonment or pay M4000 fine which he was able to pay.

The man was arrested after police received a tipoff from the community.

In another gun incident, 23-year-old Tebalo Lekola of Mapholaneng in Mokhotlong district appeared before the Magistrate court on January 23 on charges of illegal possession of 50 bullets of a 9mm gun.

The accused was arrested following a tipoff. He claimed that he had bought the bullets in Maputsoe to exchange them with a 52-year-old man from Ha-Mohale for two sheep.

He was found guilty and was sentenced to three years in prison or pay a fine of M5000. The court suspended his sentence for six months.

In another gun-related incident in Maseru, police are investigating a case of murder where a police officer, Constable Tau Ralekuli (36), who recites at Ha-Abia in Maseru was shot dead at his place on January 26 this year.

Inspector Mofoka said the information they have showed that on the fateful day in the evening, the deceased was at his business when an unknown gunman arrived disguised as a customer.

After he entered the shop gunshots were heard, with the gunman and the deceased then wrestling for the gun on their way outside. Another gunshot went off and the police officer collapsed to the ground, while the gunman fled the scene.

The injured police officer was rushed to Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police investigations on the incident are ongoing with the suspect still at large.

In yet another gun-related killing, two people are in police custody over the murder of a 30-year-old Tsikoane woman.

The two are 27-year-old man from Maqhaka in Berea district and a 32-year-old woman from Belabela, who recites in Amerika, Hlotse.

Information from the police showed that on January 27 at 21:30hrs, an unknown man knocked at the deceased’s house and her 15- year old son answered the call, upon which the gunman asked for the deceased.

On her appearance, he shot her several times in the presence of her child. The assailant then fled the scene in a hired vehicle that was parked some distance from the deceased’s home.

The public responded to the gunshots and pursued the suspect’s getaway vehicle. They also reported the incident to the police.

The suspect is believed to have jumped out of the moving car at Matukeng since the vehicle was later stopped but only the driver was in it. The driver and the car are in police custody.

On January 28, police then arrested a female lecturer from the National University of Lesotho (NUL) in the Nursing department, who is suspected to have hired the hitmen who killed the deceased woman.

The deceased was a nurse at Motebang Hospital, and also a wife to Tsikoane constituency legislator, Malefane Mabote.

The two suspects are expected to appear in court on February 3 to answer murder charges.

The police through its counseling department has been stabilising the mental condition of the child who witnessed the murder of her mother.

The police have thanked the Tsikoane community for bravely responding to the situation.

In Butha-Buthe, 38-year-old Lekhanya Khutlise, appeared before the Magistrate Court on January 25 on charges of illegally possessing a .38 firearm with three bullets.

He was sentenced to five years imprisonment or pay M5000 fine which he paid.

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