Africa-Press – Lesotho. THE police have revealed that 622 Basotho have been murdered since January. Deputy Commissioner of Police Dr Mahlape Morai told the Senate that most of the people were shot.
The Senate had asked Police Minister Lebona Lephema to bring his officers to explain the latest on the murder rate in Lesotho. This means that about 62 were murdered every month.
That translates to an average two murders a day. Dr Morai said Leribe, where 112 people have been killed this year, has replaced Mafeteng as a hotspot.
Maseru Urban recorded 109 murders, followed by Maseru Rural at 102 and Mafeteng at 67. Mohale’s Hoek had 42 murders, Mokhotlong 39, Butha-Buthe 38, Thaba-Tseka 25, Qacha’s Nek 17 and Quthing 16.
Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli told the Senators that “the issue of guns is serious and needs to be uprooted”, blaming rogue elements within the police who steal and sell guns.
“Some guns are sold at the Chinese shops,” Commissioner Molibeli said. He added that the Chinese are mostly given the guns by rogue police officers. “I have such a case in our office,” he said.
He also said famo gang wars have shifted from Mafeteng to Leribe which he said is now a “murder hotspot”. He gave an example of “communities like Liphakoeng” which he said has become the haven of a famo gang.
The commissioner added that the gangs sometimes entice a community by building the village chief a house or an office. “The public ends up celebrating the gangsters because of such things,” he said.
Commissioner Molibeli also said the murder rate is increasing in the country because “people resort to violence before exhausting all the peaceful means”.
“We have to strengthen counselling among our people,” Commissioner Molibeli said. Dr Morai said even petty things drive people to kill each other in Lesotho.
“As we speak, our country is regarded as a hotspot for homicides, it is very dangerous as it can scare away potential investors,” Dr Morai said.
She complained that lately, “Basotho killed each other without any valid reasons to do so”. “It is in Lesotho where two women can stab each other for a man who has his own family,” she said.
She also made an example that even in families siblings fight over petty issues. She added that apart from using guns, Basotho use other things such as knives.
“This shows that Basotho are not afraid to kill each other.
” She also said the Police Ministry has developed a plan to reduce homicides.
“The government has just bought us above 70 vehicles to make our job easier to increase the police visibility in the country,” she said. She said they have also introduced a new toll-free number for people to report crime.