Soldiers charged with murdering military leader
Publish date: 04 December 2017
Issue Number: 754
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Eight soldiers have appeared in a Maseru court in connection with the June 2015 killing of former army commander, Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao, in a major breakthrough in a case that plunged Lesotho into turmoil. Mahao was ambushed and shot by his peers from the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) near his farm in Mokema on 25 June 2015. The incident kick-started a chain of events that resulted in SADC establishing a commission of inquiry to probe the murder and the instability in Lesotho. The Lesotho Times reports that a 10-member commission recommended that government should investigate the killing and prosecute those found to be responsible.
In a separate matter, four soldiers have been arrested in connection with the near-fatal shooting of Lesotho Times editor Lloyd Mutungamiri in July last year in an operation the police say was authorised by the LDF. Mutungamiri was shot and critically wounded as he arrived at his Upper Thamae home from work on 9 July, 2016 in what appeared to be a carefully orchestrated assassination attempt. Earlier that week, employees of the newspaper were interrogated by police and military officials over reports the newspaper had published about the LDF. A report on the allAfrica site notes that publisher and CEO Basildon Peta was charged with criminal defamation arising from a complaint laid against the newspaper by then LDF commander Tlali Kamoli. A week later, Mutungamiri was shot in the face.