SADC condemns the assassination of Lesotho army chief, deploys mission

By Mpho Tebele

Gaborone – SADC will deploy a ministerial fact finding mission after the assassination of the commander of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), Lieutenant General Khoantle Motsomotso.

Motsomotso was reportedly gunned down by some senior army officers on 5 September 2017.

The Chairperson Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said  in order to avert the possibility of further deterioration of security in the Kingdom of Lesotho, the SADC is immediately deploying a ministerial fact finding mission to Lesotho from 7 to 10 September 2017.

In a statement, dos Santos said that the mission will comprise the organ’s ministers plus the SADC chair, accompanied by defence and security experts.

He said the Fact Finding Mission is expected to conduct an assessment of the security situation and to hold meetings with all key stakeholders in Lesotho in order to establish the root causes of the assassination and subsequently recommend the appropriate courses of action.

SADC said it “has learnt with deep shock, sadness and dismay about some senior officers of the LDF who are reported to have also lost their lives in the shooting incident” adding that it “strongly condemns this indescribable and inexcusable barbaric and heinous act”.

Dos Santos further stated that “this development is a serious blight and setback to the ongoing efforts to restore peace, security and stability to the Kingdom of Lesotho. It is an unfortunate occurrence which threatens the prevailing peace and security of the SADC region as a whole”.

“SADC wishes to reassure all citizens of Lesotho, Member States and the entire international community that SADC remains seized with developments in the Kingdom of Lesotho and will spare no efforts in ensuring the maintenance and restoration of lasting peace and security to the Kingdom of Lesotho,” he said.

The men who assassinated Motsomotso have been named as – Brigadier Bulane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi – who were in turn shot dead in a shootout with Motsomotso’s bodyguards and other soldiers.

Reports suggest that the army officers were under criminal investigation along with a number of other soldiers for the murder of the former defence force commander, General Maaparanko Mahao in 2015.

 

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