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Lesotho renegade soldier appears in court for murder

By Billy Ntaote

Lesotho’s former army commander, Retired Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli (pictured) today briefly appeared before the high court on a charge of murder for the first time since his detention in October 2017.

Kamoli, accompanied by his three co-accused members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), was told by Justice Thamsanqa Nomngcongo he is indicted for the murder of Sub Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko –a member of Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) who was slayed during what was conceived as a foiled coup at dawn of August 30, 2014.

The Judge further set a date for the accused to appear for mention before the High Court on April 12, 2018.

Sometime in October 2017, Kamoli was arrested after being called to voluntarily hand himself over to the police for questioning in relation to his suspected involvement in numerous cases of murder and attempted murder that rocked Lesotho.

Today, when Kamoli and his co-accused appeared before court amid tight security only one count of murder was read to him over the August 30 2014 killing of Ramahloko.

The Judge further reminded Kamoli that there are still other charges against him, which were not among the charges brought before the court today.

Justice Nomngcongo was referring to the other charges where 14 counts of attempted murder have been preferred on Kamoli over the 27 January 2014 simultaneous bombings of the Moshoeshoe II homes of First Lady Maesiah Thabane and the Ha Abia residence of former police commissioner, Khothatso Tšooana.

Ramahloko was brutally killed by soldiers who stormed the police headquarters in Maseru when the army, under Kamoli’s command, allegedly attempted to topple Prime Minister Thomas Thabane administration on August 30, 2014.

During the said attempt, the soldiers ostensibly acting on the instructions of Kamoli as army commander, raided several other police stations in Maseru and seized an assortment of weapons.

Influenced by mounting international pressure to resolve  the political and security crisis, the Lesotho government then led by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili was forced to retire Kamoli, a man labelled the most polarising figure in the country’s political and security crisis by a regional commission of inquiry.

Kamoli was retired on December 1, 2016.

Following the dawn of Thabane’s return to power after the June 2017 snap elections, Kamoli was arrested and is now facing a number of charges along-side many other members of the army arrested over various charges of attempted murder and murder.

Kamoli’s co-accused are: Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Lance Corporal Motloheloa Ntsane and Lance Corporal Leutsoa Motsieloa.

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