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COMPOL appeals for public cooperation

By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – In order to successfully respond to the high rate of criminal incidents, the Commissioner of Police (COMPOL) Holomo Molibeli had urged the members of the public to always assist them with the information which could lead to the arrests of the criminal suspects.

This he said in response to the recent spate of criminal incidents which had claimed many lives through barrel of a gun.

Addressing journalists at the press conference in Maseru on Tuesday this week, COMPOL reiterated that it is everyone’s responsibility to fight crime.

“Lesotho needs to have investors and they can only come when there is safety,” he said urging for the members of the public to come on board in the fight against crime.

There has been a recent spate of criminal activities in the country and in South Africa, the criminal acts allegedly perpetrated by the Lesotho nationals who are mining gold in the abandoned mines. These Lesotho irregular migrants have also been linked to criminal activities such as rape, theft and contravening the provisions of the South Africa Immigration Act, while some have been arrested and charged some have feared injuries owing to heavy handed lashings from the angry mobs in of the disgruntled SA communities.

The Prime Minister (PM) Dr Moeketsi Majoro had since apologized to SA for these criminal acts whose alleged perpetrators are Basotho. Locally, the PM has vowed to ramp up security presence in the streets, roads and communities in order to curb the increasing rate of the criminal activities.

Molibeli said they have joint operations with their South African Police Service (SAPS) counterparts, adding that preparations are underway for his planned meeting with the SAPS COMPOL.

He said these criminal activities have worried the police.

Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (SACP) Khethang Tenane responsible for the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) reported that the police had made a breakthrough in connection to the arrest of three suspects whom they received a tip from the community members.

SACP Tenane said they found one Lekhooa Moroke of Mahloenyeng, Matsieng who was wanted by the Morija police in connection to two cases of murder of these case numbers CR0553/22 and 0554/22 and they brought him before the court.

Also, this murder suspect had other two murder cases hanging over his head which he had allegedly committed in 2019 and their case numbers are CR055/19 and CR364/19. SACP Tenane said the suspect was also found in possession of illegal firearm and had assisted the police to recover four guns around Mauteng.

He further mentioned that their July 21 operation bore fruits as they were able to find 10 men linked to famo groups, of one of the factions; Terene, who had booked the accommodation facility in Naleli. Among them, he said there was one Lethusang Ranki, 34 year old man of Motimposo, who was found in illegal possession of 9mm and 7.65 pistol.

He said Ranki appeared before the court and was sentenced to a year imprisonment or M1 000.00 fine to which he paid the fine.

The second suspect was Peter Serai, a South Africa national who was also found in illegal possession of a M16 magazine holding 30 bullets. He said Serai was arraigned before court and was given an M500.00 fine which he paid.

Also reporting on the alleged ritual killing of a women whose story recently went viral, SACP Tenane said they are still investigating the matter and have roped in the “witness” who witnessed the women being cut off the breasts by men and allegedly drank her blood who took them to a location at or near Ha-Leqele and or Ha-Makhoathi. The police also said they have not succeeded to locate the places in question and had not received the reports of either missing woman allegedly mutilated for alleged ritual purposes.

Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (SACP) Mahapela Loke in charge of the Special Operations Unit (SOU) said four men linked to “Liala-mabatha” famo were also arrested and appeared before court. He said one Lekhooa Moroke was arrested in connection to the murder of Thulo Motau who was gunned down at Mafeteng in 2019.

He said in their operations they were able to arrest Mojalefa Lebesa of Ntširele who was found in illegal possession of CZ745 and Tšepo Koali. SACP Loke said the duo is both in custody and the investigations are ongoing.

The other two men he said are Thaisi Mahlomola and Lebesa Lebesa whom they arrested and brought before the court. He said Mahlomola was sentenced to two years imprisonment with option to pay M2 000.00 fine of which half was suspended while Lebesa was given a three year sentence or a M3 000.00 fine.

Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (SACP) Tšeliso Moerane, responsible for the national operations said they mount “stop and search” raids in lipitsong (public gatherings), taverns, taxis and buses ranks, in villages and in places that attract voluminous people.

Asked on the developments regarding a security officer who was fatally shot at Pioneer Mall on Monday last week, COMPOL said there is “some light” in that regard but no arrests have been made, adding that investigations are ongoing.

COMPOL has also applauded “positive” use of the social media, saying it helps them in their policing activities.

The LMPS has recently mounted the Cyber Crime Unit which is tasked with investigating criminal activities in which digital devises or networks are used within the internet space to commit acts of crime.