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Army bombings case ready to start

Former army chief Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli

April 6, 2021 3 min read

3 min read

THE long awaited trial in which five members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) including former army commander, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli face numerous charges of attempted murder and destruction of property that occurred more than seven years ago will be heard from May 10-14.

The charges stem from the January 27, 2014 simultaneous bombings of the Moshoeshoe II homes of former First Lady ’Maesaiah Thabane and ’Mamoshoeshoe Moletsane along with the Ha Abia residence of former police commissioner Khothatso Tšooana.

When High Court judge, Justice Charles Hungwe finally set the date of trial last week Thursday, the matter had been already been postponed on several occasions for various reasons.

On a number of times the case was rescheduled to give the Crown time to serve the defence with essential court documents.

On other occasions, the matter was postponed because the defence lawyers simply did not show up in court.

But signs of progress are finally showing after a Pre-Trial Conference (PTC) was held, thus paving way for the commencement of the trial.

Kamoli is charged together with Major Pitso Ramoepane, Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Corporal Mohlalefi Seitlheko and Sergeant Heqoa Malefane.

The attempted murder charges relate to the bombing of Thabane’s house whose occupants at the time of the incident included Victoria Ferreira, Nthabeleng Lesoetsa and Keneuoe Letsie.

Moletsane was in her house with Fane Moletsane at the time of the bombing.

Tšooana and his wife ’Mapalesa along with Palesa Tšooana, Reabetsoe Tšooana, Nkopane Tšooana, Rethabile Selialia, Thuto Selialia and ’Mamosebatho Ralijo also survived the bombing at their house.

Police were reported at the time as saying that unexploded bombs found at the scene bore the serial numbers of munitions supplied to the LDF by a South African manufacturer.

In another matter, Kamoli is accused of the murder of police Sub Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko who was allegedly killed by soldiers at the Police Headquarters on August 30, 2014 during an attempted coup.
Kamoli and other soldiers are also accused of the June 25, 2015 murder of former army commander Maaparankoe Mahao who was killed execution style close to his farm in his home village of Mokema, on the outskirts of Maseru, while driving in a car with his two nephews.

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Mahao had been forced out as LDF chief by Pakalitha Mosisili’s coalition government to make way for the reinstatement of Kamoli, who had earlier been removed by former premier Motsoahae Thabane’s government.

The then Minister of Defence, Tšeliso Mokhosi, said Mahao was shot while resisting arrest for leading an army mutiny.

A Southern African Development Community (SADC) commission of inquiry led by Botswana judge, Justice Mphaphi Phumaphi was established to investigate the circumstances surrounding Mahao’s killing and recommended Kamoli’s removal.

Kamoli was fingered by the commission as a “polarising character within the Lesotho Defence Force”.

Before his dismissal, Tšooana had complained that the LDF had refused to hand over suspects to the police.

Kamoli and his co-accused are currently languishing in the Maseru Maximum Prison after they were denied bail by the High Court.

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