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Lesotho crisis: Top army officer detained

Lesotho crisis: Top army officer detained Lt. Gen Khoantle Motsomotso

The Herald

Lt. Gen Khoantle Motsomotso

Lt. Gen Khoantle Motsomotso

MASERU. — Lesotho has reportedly detained a senior army officer in connection with the killing of the country’s military leader and two other soldiers.

Reuters reported that the army major was taken into custody to help police with the investigation. Lesotho army chief Lieutenant-General Khoantle Motsomotso was shot on Tuesday at an army barracks when two people forced entry into his office.

Prime Minister Thomas Thabane said everything in the mountain kingdom is under control. Meanwhile, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) did not mince its words about the killing of Lt-Gen Motsomotso, calling it an inexcusable, barbaric and heinous act.

Lesotho is a member of the 15-state SADC. Other member-states are Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

“This development is a serious blight and setback to the ongoing efforts to restore peace, security and stability to the Kingdom of Lesotho,” the SADC said. The regional body has also sent a fact-finding mission to Lesotho to “avert the possibility of a further deterioration of security”. A ministerial mission from SADC was expected in the mountain kingdom yesterday.

Troops from several southern African countries are deploying to Lesotho amid tensions over the shooting of the mountain kingdom’s military commander.

Lesotho’s defence minister, Sentje Lebona, said yesterday SADC was sending forces to keep order. Lebona said the force includes troops from South Africa, Angola and Mozambique, but declined to comment on the size.

Lesotho has been beset by power struggles and concerns about military interference in politics. The country has seen a number of high-profile assassinations, including the 2015 killing of a former army chief. — News Agencies.

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