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Prison horror: Inmate breaks down describing assault,

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… Denied family visit on Christmas Day
Ntsoaki Motaung
In a harrowing testimony before the Commission of Inquiry, Marasi ‘Moleli, an inmate at
the Maseru Central Correctional Institute (MCCI), broke down as he recounted the
brutal assault inflicted upon inmates by LCS officers in December 2023.
Overwhelmed with emotion, Marasi struggled to speak, forcing the commission to call
for an early lunch break.
Describing the heart-wrenching moment when his own children were denied the
opportunity to speak to him during a prison visit, Marasi revealed: “They came in, and
what I was able to do was only to greet them. From there, I was told to make it quick
and accept what they brought for me. Everything happened so fast, and in no time they
were told to leave, and I was left there helpless.”
Tears streaming down his face, Marasi continued: “It was on Christmas day, the day
every child is excited about, but my children were denied the chance to talk to me.”
During his testimony, Marasi revealed the events of December 22, 2023, when a search
operation commenced in the early hours. He recounted being awakened by a cellmate
who informed him about media reports of escaped inmates, prompting memories of
hearing gunshots in his sleep.
“At around seven in the morning, LCS officers conducted their usual routine, counting
us in our cells. They then left our cell doors ajar, allowing us to move within Block B’s
corridors. Shortly after, we were ordered back into our cells and locked in,” Marasi
recalled.
“Moments later, cries echoed from neighbouring cells, followed by a increase of
distress. By 10 am, I observed figures passing by our cell, adorned in green bucket
hats, masks, and reflectors. The cries intensified, amplifying the atmosphere of fear and
uncertainty,” he narrated.
Marasi recounted a distressing encounter when individuals, whom he believed to be
LCS officers and recruits, approached his cell. Upon their arrival, all inmates were
ordered to raise their hands and face the wall. Marasi described witnessing his
cellmates being subjected to assault, while he was instructed to remove his belongings
from the cell.

He added that, as he was taking his belongings out of the cell he saw one “Morena”
Kheleli whom he asked to stop his colleagues from assaulting inmates but he did not
respond.
According to Marasi, when LCS officers were searching, they assaulted and insulted
inmates.
“When I asked those who were around me to stop insulting me, that is when I was hit by
a stick on the head, and a few seconds later blood flew from my head down to my face
and my clothes,” he said.
He recounted that after the search of his cell, he informed one ‘Morena Nkhapetla’ of his
need to see a doctor. “When Morena Nkhapetla emerged from cell 53, he was
supporting Sebilo, who appeared to be struggling to walk on his own. I assisted in
carrying him to the clinic,” he narrated.
“As we sat in the clinic, more injured inmates arrived. Soon, the space was filled with
individuals sporting bruises, and bloodied clothing, and some were visibly limping,” he
added.
Among the inmates present, Marasi noted the presence of Captain Litekanyo Nyakane,
who arrived in a wheelchair. “He sat in the wheelchair appearing unconscious. It took
some time for him to regain consciousness, and upon doing so, he seemed unable to
recall the events that led him to the clinic. He sought clarification from us,” he
recounted.
Marasi revealed that only a handful of inmates were transported to Makoanyane
Hospital for medical assessment, leaving a significant number of inmates in agony.
“On the 23rd, the Minister of Law and Justice, accompanied by the Commissioner of
LCS and their deputies, visited the facility. However, only a select few inmates were
chosen to meet with the minister,” Marasi recounted.
He expressed frustration, stating that those severely injured, including himself, were not
informed about the minister’s presence. Marasi recounted attending the gathering
independently, overhearing the Minister instruct Commissioner Nkakala to ensure that
the injured inmates received medical attention.
However, Nkakala delegated the responsibility to Deputy Commissioner Manaka, who
then passed it on to “Morena” ‘Molaoa.
“He simply reminded us of the procedures to follow and the designated days for
requesting medical assistance,” Marasi said, reflecting on the lack of urgency in
addressing the inmates’ medical needs.

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