MASERU — A village chief was shot dead on Saturday as he tried to mediate in a row between a brother and sister.
Chief Ntsane Khotso had been invited by the family to resolve the dispute between Molefi Kitime and his sister ’Mamontšo.
It is alleged that as the chief was trying to reconcile the two in Ha-Moji village near Nazareth, Kitime pulled a gun and shot him dead.
Kitime also fatally shot one of his aunts and injured another who was later treated at the Roma Hospital as an outpatient.
The family had just performed a cleansing ceremony for the death of their mother last month.
Kitime was accused of allegedly slapping ’Mamontšo during their mother’s funeral and was uncooperative when the family tried to peacefully resolve the matter.
Khothatso Kitime, Kitime’s elder sister, told the Lesotho Times that ’Mamontšo had gone to the chief to seek a letter referring her to the police after the assault but the chief suggested she should amicably resolve the matter with her brother.
Chief Khotso was then invited to the family’s homestead on Saturday to try to reconcile the quarrelling siblings.
Khothatso said her angry brother had refused to talk to the chief.
“He went out of the house and when he came back he started shooting,” Khothatso said.
She said Kitime only stopped shooting when he ran out of bullets.
“Were it not for that, he could have killed more people,” Khothatso said.
“He went outside to reload and that gave those who were inside a chance to lock the door and escape through the back window.”
Khothatso said her brother had earlier threatened to shoot her but she did not think he was serious.
“After shooting the chief and our two aunts it was then that I realised that he was serious when he said he was going to shoot me,” she said.
Chief Khotso’s son, Lesaoana, said he was at school when he heard the tragic news. He immediately rushed home where he was welcomed by the weeping family members as he entered the gate.
“I did not go inside. I just left my bag and went to the suspect’s home where I found the same situation,” Lesaoana said.
Lesaoana added the chief had tried to intervene because the Kitimes were their close family friends.
He said he went inside the house where he found his father lying on the floor.
A few feet away from him was ’Malitlhare Kitime, the aunt, who was unconscious.
Kitime appeared briefly in court on Monday and was remanded in custody.
He will appear in court again on August 30.