SADC conducts technical assessment of the security situation in Lesotho

Pursuant to the Double Troika Summit (DTS) directive of 15 September 2017, a SADC Technical Assessment Team (TAM) was deployed to Lesotho to assess the security situation in the kingdom, and determine the requirements and prepare modalities for deploying a multidimensional SADC Contingent Force by 1 November, 2017.

The DTS decision was made following the assassination of Lieutenant General Khoantlhe Motšomotšo, commander of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) which jeopardized the implementation of SADC decisions and further destabilised the security situation in the kingdom.

The TAM held the consultative meetings at the Mojalefa Lephole Convention Centre in Maseru from 25 to 27 September 2017. The TAM met with various stakeholders which included government officials and non-state actors.  The stakeholders included Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Ministry of Defence and National Security, the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), the Lesotho National Security Service (NSS), Lesotho Mounted Police Service, the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL), the Lesotho Council of NGOs (LCNGOs), and representatives of opposition political parties.

The consultative meetings were officially opened by Habofanoe Lehana, Minister of Local Government and Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. He was accompanied by Sentje Lebono, Minister of Defence and National Security and other senior officials of the government of Lesotho.

Lehana expressed gratitude for the assistance that SADC continues to provide Lesotho in times of need. He described the SADC intervention as timely following the successful conduct of the Ministerial Fact Finding Mission of the Organ Troika on 8 September 2017 which culminated in the holding of the Double Troika Summit on 15 September 2017 and the deployment of the TAM to Lesotho on 24 September 2017.

He therefore pledged the commitment of the government of Lesotho to the implementation of the decisions of the SADC Summit. He, however, expressed remorse that Lesotho continued to be on top of the SADC Agenda, under countries in the region that are in conflict.

The SADC Double Troika (DT) Plus the Republic of Botswana Technical Assessment Mission was co-chaired by Lt Gen Américo Valente (Republic of Angola), representing the Chairperson of the Organ and Brig Gen Elvis Phale (Republic of South Africa, representing the Chairperson of SADC). The mission comprised of senior military, police and state security and civilian officers from  Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and the SADC Secretariat.

Botswana participated in the TAM in her capacity as chair of the Defence Intelligence Standing Committee.

At the end of the mission, the TAM prepared a detailed report with recommendations on the requirements and modalities for the deployment of a multidimensional SADC Contingent Force comprising the military, police and civilian components.

The TAM also prepared the draft Concept of Operation (CONOPS), Rules of Engagement (ROE) and Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) for consideration of the Defence Sub Committee which is scheduled to hold its  meeting in Luanda, Angola on 3 – 5 October 2017. – www.sadc.int.

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