Nov. 8, 2022


2 min read

Witness convinced accused killed her father

Witness convinced accused killed her father

Justice 'Mafelile Ralebese

Story highlights

    Accused seen holding a gun before the fatal shooting
    Alleged gunman claims his companion shot the dead soldier

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THE daughter of a man who was allegedly killed in a shooting incident between soldiers and famo gangsters at the Maseru Border Gate in 2017 says she is convinced that the accused killed her father.

Moiketsi Makhabane who was a street vendor was shot dead along with army Private Katleho Seliane in the fire exchange that ensued on May 13, 2017, at the border.

Another soldier, Private Halekhethe Nkonyana who was injured during the incident was admitted to the hospital with serious gunshot wounds.

Motlatsi Rantaoane, the alleged gunman is accused of the murder of the slain soldier and the attempted murder of his colleague.  

After the fatal shooting, the Maseru police arrested Rantaoane along with his five companions including Lekhoele Noko, Molise Phakela, Khothatso Makibinyane, Molise Motaung, and Tello Thoi.  

The police later released the five men after they could not be linked to the shooting.  

But Rantaoane was detained and later remanded in custody for the murder.  

After their release from police custody, the soldiers are alleged to have kidnapped Noko, Phakela, and Makibinyane before strangling them at a military camp in Setibing, Maseru on May 16, 2017, and later dumped their bodies in the Mohale Dam.

In a separate but related trial, 10 members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) are accused of the murder of the three men.

The accused include Brigadier Rapele Mphaki, Major Pitso Ramoepane, Captain Mahlehle Moeletsi, Sergeant Lekhooa Moepi, Lance Corporal Mahlomola Makhoali along with Privates Nthatakane Motanyane, Motšoane Machai, Tieho Tikiso, Liphapang Sefako, and Nemase Faso.

Testifying in cross-examination, Rethabile Makhabane told the High Court on Monday this week that although she did witness the killing, she is convinced that Rantaoane is responsible for her father’s murder.

At the time of the murder, Rethabile worked as a street vendor with her late father.

But in his defence, Rantaoane claims he did not fire the fatal bullet, adding that the trigger was pulled by one of the three men allegedly strangled by the soldiers.

Another witness, Mahali Makoa told the court earlier that she saw Rantaoane holding a firearm on that day.

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She also witnessed as the accused refused to hand over the said gun to one of the soldiers who tried to disarm him.

The court heard how she fled the scene before the shooting began.

“Minutes after the shooting had stopped, I returned to the scene and found two injured soldiers and Makhabane lying on the ground,” Justice ’Mafelile Ralebese heard.

Rantaoane faces multiple charges including two counts of murder, one attempted murder, and illegal possession of a firearm, a 7.65mm pistol.
The prosecution is expected to lead 12 witnesses comprising four eyewitnesses.

The defence has, however, shown that the accused will be the only witness as all his witnesses have since died.


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