Two taxicabs were torched during this week’s two-day stayaway called by opposition parties to protest government’s alleged failure to ensure security in the country.
According to police spokesperson Clifford Molefe, the incidents took place on Monday and Tuesday in Ha Tšosane and Lifariking, respectively.
“One of the taxis had been stolen in Ha Motšoeneng and was later found abandoned in Ha Tšosane on Tuesday morning. The vehicle was half-burnt and no one has been arrested in connection with the incident.
“Another taxi was found burnt in Lifariking on Monday night, and no one has also been arrested in connection with the crime. It is not clear at the moment whether the two incidents had anything to do with the stayaway ,” he said.
Senior Inspector Molefe also said some residents of Ha Foso and Qoaling burnt tyres and poured oil on the man roads of the two villages on the eve of the stayaway.
“In Ha Foso, some tyres were burnt across the main road, but the police managed to put off the fire and cleaned the road so that it was ready for use again on Monday morning.
“In Qoaling, in addition to tyres being burnt on the main road, some oil was poured across the tarmac on Sunday and we cleaned that road too and ensured the traffic moved unhindered.”
Senior Inspector Molefe further noted in addition, two taxis were stoned opposite DLM and Naleli Centre on Monday but none of the drivers was injured. The violence was to punish the drivers for ferrying passengers when the opposition had encouraged taxi-operators to ensure their vehicles were off the road as a way of supporting the stayaway, which encouraged employees not to report for work on the two days in question.
“Luckily, the cars only had minor scratches and the drivers were also not hurt,” Senior Inspector Molefe said.
On Tuesday’s ‘curfew’ which Maseru residents scrambled to beat after it was announced through social media that it would start at 6:30pm, Senior Inspector Molefe said: “There was no curfew on Tuesday because the Commissioner of Police never made such an announcement.
“When there is a curfew, only the Commissioner of Police can make that announcement according to the law.”
Senior Inspector Molefe said the police managed to ensure there was “peace” during the two days of the stay-away “as promised”, while the opposition has since called it a success as government had been forced to take note of the security concerns.
“We had deployed police officers in large numbers on the streets to offer security to people who wanted to go about their business in peace, and we are happy that the two days passed without much incident.”