Africa-Press – Lesotho. Dressed in Military uniform, the Prime Minister, Mr. Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane awarded medals to 120 Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Contingents who were deployed in Mozambique on August 08, 2021.

Mr. Matekane expressed pride to inspect the guard of honour made up of the above mentioned contingent whom he said fulfilled the mission in Mozambique.

He said the decision to deploy Lesotho’s mission to Mozambique reminded Basotho of the first and second world wars, saying Lesotho committed herself to the Constitutional law, United Nations Chapter,

Constitute Act of the African Union, Declaration and Treaty of Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well as the Bilateral Agreement thus had to partake in maintaining peace and stability in Mozambique.

He said he understood the rough journey the families of the contingent went through as they spent 10 months in Mozambique, saying he went to that country to analyse the situation.

He said it was during that visit that he learned about the challenges facing the current mission in Mozambique which included salary delay and lack of resources, indicating that upon his arrival back home, he ensured that these challenges were addressed.

He pledged that the government will reward and honour the contingent in a form of cash by next month (April) and May, emphasising that this gesture is not part of any reward from LDF or SADC.

He wished those whose health was affected during their deployment a speedy recovery, saying he was aware that LDF is intending to build a tree of honour for those who lost their lives in Mozambique.

On one hand, LDF Commander, Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela said the contingent performed their duties fearlessly and selflessly in Mozambique. He stressed that the security situation in Mozambique remains volatile and they are ready to deploy more troops for recovery of peace and stability in that country.

He commended the Prime Minister for visiting the mission in Mozambique although his life was at risk due to the prevailing situation in that country. The Commander of the Contingent, Commando Colonel Tefo Ramosie said they arrived in Mozambique knowing nothing and had to find information for themselves but remembered the order of the LDF Commander who said he must ensure that they all come back alive.

He said they were placed in the hot area as it was surrounded by Rebels, however saying that motivated them to work hard but due to unfavourable weather conditions, one of his men suffered from Malaria and lost his life.

He however expressed pride that they played a vital role in maintaining peace and stability in Mozambique as by the time they left, children began attending schools and people went back to their homes.

He appealed to LDF Commander to compensate them as they had not received anything since they returned from war, saying they have been through a lot and still traumatised by war and seeing dead bodies each

day. “Despite challenges we faced in Mozambique, we are ready to be deployed anywhere, ” he said, expressing gratitude to Basotho for supporting them through prayers.

Meanwhile, the PM presented medals to the wives of the two soldiers who were part of the mission but lost their lives. So far three soldiers lost their lives during their deployment in Mozambique and one of them died after coming back home.

The contingent returned home on June 15 last year and another mission was sent to Mozambique. Reports indicate that terrorist activity in Mozambique has been on the rise since 2017, with more than 3,000 civilians killed since the onset of violence as of November 2020.

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