MASERU — A senior police officer has warned Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to be ready to compensate victims of police torture because he is going to intensify the torture of suspects.
Senior Inspector Lenkoane Lenkoane, commander of the Lithoteng police station, told a gathering in Qoaling on Sunday that he is going to “dislodge” suspects’ buttocks with a knobkerrie.
Lenkoane, who boasted that wherever he worked he had never been overwhelmed by crime, said the suspects he would torture would approach the government to claim compensation “if after all they would be alive”.
“There are claims that the police torture suspects without even conducting investigations,” Lenkoane, who seemed agitated, said.
“I say to Mr Prime Minister and to your government, prepare for claims because I am going to assault them,” he said.
“Tell these young people that I will clobber them.
“I will dislodge their buttocks with a knobkerrie.”
Yesterday the Lesotho Mounted Police Service desperately tried to distance itself from Lenkoane’s statements.
Police spokesperson Masupha Masupha said police authorities are worried with Lenkoane’s statements “because no one within the LMPS is trained to torture suspects”.
He said LMPS officers are trained to treat suspects humanely.
Masupha said the authorities “are currently working on this (Lenkoane’s) issue”.
“Perhaps the Senior Inspector (Lenkoane) will give us this knobkerrie he claims to have,” Masupha said.
“This matter of his is being dealt with at a high level.”
“By saying he will dislodge someone’s behinds with a knobkerrie is tantamount to taking himself to prison.”
Masupha said Basotho should not take Lenkoane’s statement as a reflection of the LMPS’ policy.
The LMPS is notorious for torturing suspects.
Several people have successfully sued the police for torture.
At least 30 cases of torture were reported to the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) for investigations between 2007 and 2011.
Between 2007 and 2008, 40 cases against the police were filed in the High Court.
Eight cases involving murder, attempted murder, assault and attempted rape allegedly committed by police officers were reported to the CPA by the public in 2007.
In 2008 the authority received four complaints from the public, one being a murder claim.
In 2009 the public lodged 10 complaints against the police at the PCA and six of them have since been completed.
Of the 12 cases investigated by the PCA in 2010, five were completed and the police were found to be in the wrong.
Last year High Court judge Justice ’Maseshophe Hlajoane awarded M240 000 to Mare Taole who had sued the Commissioner of Police for torture after cops assaulted him until he broke his ribs, vomited blood twice and fainted five times.
The police had told him that he would “vomit a laptop” they alleged he had stolen.
In another case Justice Thamsanqa Nomconcgo awarded M50 000 to Joel Makhaba after the police tortured him until he soiled his pants.
This year the Mafeteng police allegedly tortured Moepa Monare until he died because his brother who was suspected to have raped a chief’s daughter could not be found.
In Butha-Buthe a man was killed by the police after he was suspected of robbing a woman of her luggage.
The man allegedly pleaded with the police not to kick him on the chest as he was ill but they ignored his pleas.