MASERU — Two young boys were shot dead and a further six people were seriously injured when a group of unknown men opened fire on them during a New Year’s Eve celebration in Ha-Raliemere in Mafeteng.
The injured were admitted at two hospitals with serious gun-shot wounds, police said said.
Police spokesperson Masupha Masupha yesterday said two of the victims were in critical condition at Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital in Maseru while four were at the Mafeteng Hospital.
He said police were in search of three known suspects who are at large after they allegedly shot at the crowd as they celebrated the New Year at around midnight on Saturday.
Just as the police had predicted and issued warnings ahead of New Year Celebrations, the culprits allegedly launched the attack at the unsuspecting crowd amid the bang of fire crackers so that they could not distinguish a gun sound from that
of a cracker.
Masupha said the victims and other people who were at the party failed to hear the intruders’ shots because of the deafening noise of fire crackers.
“A father to one of the victims said he heard the gun sounds but took it to be those of firecrackers,” he said.
“He was not aware that his children had been shot until someone came to tell him.”
On Tuesday police commissioner Kizito Mhlakaza visited the victims’ families where he reassured them that the culprits would be arrested and brought to face justice.
Mhlakaza appealed to the Ha-Raliemere community to help the police arrest the culprits.