By Billy Ntaote
MASERU — The Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli and Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) Commissioner Khothatso Tšooana yesterday appeared before the Security Committee over alleged hostilities between the army and police.
Yesterday’s meeting, which was confirmed by government spokesperson and communications minister Selibe Mochoboroane, came amid a standoff between the army and police over investigations into the bombings of three Maseru families on January 27 this year.
Mochoboroane told the Lesotho Times the Security Committee, which comprises Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation Minister Thesele ’Maseribane, Minister of Police in the Prime Minister’s Office Pitso Maisa and Human Rights, Law and Constitutional Affairs Minister Advocate Haae Phoofolo, sought to defuse tension between the two security agencies.
The simmering tension came to the boil on Monday last week when Tšooana requested Kamoli to release eight soldiers the police needed to interview in relation to the bombings at his Ha Abia residence, as well as the Moshoeshoe II homes of Liabiloe Ramoholi — Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s partner — and her neighbour, ‘Mamoletsane Moletsane.
But since Tšooana’s request, the eight officers, namely Brigadier Ramanka Mokaloba, Major Lekhooa, Major Ntlele Ntoi, Captain Tefo Hashatsi, Second Lieutenant Nyakane, Second Lieutenant Pali Hlehlisi, Corporal Mokhesuoe and Lance Coporal Mpolokeng Moleleki, have not reported to the office of the Commissioner of Police, despite a deadline of April 22 to do so.
The eight officers have also reportedly defied Warrants of Arrests the police said they obtained from the Maseru Magistrate’s Court in a bid to make them comply with Tšooana’s request.
However, Mochoboroane yesterday said the Security Committee, chaired by Metsing, was now working on resolving the differences between the two security organisations.
“The Security Committee summoned the Army Commander, Commissioner of Police and Director of National Security Services to appear before it this morning,” Mochoboroane said.
“Since early morning, they have been in a meeting; when they are done, they will give us a report on what resolutions they would have come up with.”
Metsing, on the other hand, confirmed yesterday’s Security Committee meeting.
“I learnt about the hostilities over a letter the police allegedly wrote to the army.
“As the Chairman of the Security Committee, I’m directly involved in these security issues, which is why we ended up summoning Kamoli and Tšooana to explain before the committee what exactly is going on,” Metsing said.
Asked last night if the eight army officers had eventually reported to the police, LMPS spokesperson Senior Inspector Lebona Mohloboli said:
“Until now, those soldiers have not reported themselves to the Office of the Commissioner of Police and they have also defied warrants of arrest issued by the Magistrate’s Court.
“And the army has also not delivered to us the information we had requested”.
Mohloboli could not be drawn to give details of the information the police had requested from the army.
Efforts to get a comment from LDF spokesperson Major Ntoi yesterday were fruitless.