Opposition leaders arrested

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MASERU — There was drama at the Basotho National Party (BNP) Centre on Tuesday when an ex-soldier “arrested” and frog-marched four opposition leaders to the police headquarters for allegedly withholding evidence of alleged corruption in the government.
Moeketse Malebo of the Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP), the All Basotho Convention (ABC)’s Thomas Thabane, the Basotho National Party (BNP)’s Thesele ’Maseribane and the Basotho Batho Democratic Party (BBDP) leader Jeremane Ramathebane were addressing a press conference on corruption in the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) government when they were arrested.
The press conference had almost ended when Hosanna Sako, a former soldier convicted for taking part in the 1998 military mutiny that saw the arrest of several army bosses, took the microphone and announced that he was instituting a “citizen’s arrest” on the opposition leaders.
He said it was clear that Thabane and his colleagues had evidence that state resources were being pillaged through corruption but they had not reported the alleged crimes to the police.
“I am ex-private Hosanna Sako, if you don’t know me,” Sako said as he approached the leaders at the VIP table.
“You say you have evidence that some people were stealing from the government but you haven’t reported that to the police. You are now under arrest.”
“I want you to leave whatever you are doing here and march to the police station immediately,” Sako added as he pointed towards the police headquarters.
Sako became notorious during the 1998 military mutiny when he led a band of low-ranking but rogue soldiers who stripped the then army commander Lt General Makhula Mosakeng of his rank badges and threw him into the Lesotho Maximum Security Prison together with other senior army officers.
When the opposition leaders remained seated Sako raised his voice, pulled Ramathebane and ordered Malebo to move.
“Bo ntate you are now under arrest and I order you to go to the police station now,” Sako said to the opposition leaders who looked startled by the sudden turn of events.

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