MASERU — A 35-year-old woman from Berea Plateau can now sleep at ease after last week’s arrest of an uncle who had allegedly tried to kill her following a dispute over land that started in 2006.
’Mannini Ramakatsa alleges that her uncle, Motlatsi Ramakatsa, tried to kill her and her boyfriend, Mphale Khereng, in June.
She says this was after she had won a case in which Ramakatsa had tried to dispossess her of a piece of land she inherited from her late brother.
Since then Ramakatsa has been on the police’s wanted list but had always managed to avoid arrest.
His luck however ran out last week when he was nabbed after he tried to dodge a case against ’Mannini at the Berea magistrate’s court.
Apparently this was the same court that had earlier ruled that ’Mannini was the rightful owner of the land that Ramakatsa was claiming.
Police spokesperson Masupha Masupha confirmed Ramakatsa’s arrest.
He said Ramakatsa appeared in court briefly on Wednesday and was remanded in custody.
He is expected to appear in court again soon to face two charges of attempted murder.
Masupha said Ramakatsa was nabbed by police outside the Berea magistrate’s court where he had allegedly gone to open a case against his niece.
The bad blood between ’Mannini and Ramakatsa started in 2006.
’Mannini’s late brother had left her a piece of land in the village.
But Ramakatsa immediately fenced off the land saying ’Mannini had no right to the land because she was born out of wedlock.
A bitter wrangle then ensued until ’Mannini decided to sue Ramakatsa.
And in May this year ’Mannini won her case.
The court’s sheriff then started making plans to attach Ramakatsa’s property so he could pay ’Mannini’s legal costs.
But ’Mannini’s victory soon turned into horror when Ramakatsa allegedly broke into her home and fired shots that left her with a serious wound on the back.
Khereng, her boyfriend, was shot in the arm.
’Mannini told the Lesotho Times that she was asleep with Khereng when a gun-wielding Ramakatsa broke the door and shot at them.
“It was around 8:30pm when someone kicked the door and then used a cell phone torch to light the house,” ’Mannini said.
“He directed the light to the bed where we were sleeping and then started firing at us.”
“It was my uncle (Ramakatsa) who has been fighting for a piece of land that my brother left me.
“He first shot my boyfriend. He then shot me on the back,” ’Mannini said.
“I asked him why he was trying to kill me and he fired two more shots before disappearing,” she said, adding that Ramakatsa must have thought they were both dead as they lay still until he left.
“My boyfriend was able to seek help from the neighbours.”
The village chief, Teboho Ramoseli, confirmed that Khereng came to his house the same night to inform him that they had been attacked by Ramakatsa.
“I reported the matter to the police but they did not come the same night,” the chief said.
The chief also confirmed that ’Mannini and her uncle had clashed over land.
“They have been to court and ’Mannini won the case against her uncle. Last Monday they were supposed to go to court where the uncle was supposed to pay the cost of suit.” ’Mannini alleges that this was not the first time her uncle had tried to kill her.
“In early 2009 when I was sleeping I heard voices saying ‘this is the house’. A few minutes later I heard a big sound of an explosive behind my house,” she said.
“I thought the house had fallen but it was just the windows that were broken because of the pressure from the bomb.”
’Mannini said police investigations had revealed that it was a petrol bomb that burst behind her house.
“A month after my brother was buried my uncle decided to fence the site saying it belonged to him,” she said.
“I reported to the village chief because my brother left me that site.”
’Mannini said Ramakatsa was told to remove the fence but he decided to sue her in the Berea magistrate’s court.
“On May 27 this year I won a case in the Berea magistrate’s court,” she said.
She added that last Monday they were supposed to appear in court as she was going to claim the cost of suit.