SADC TO PROBE LESOTHO ARMY COMMANDER’s KILLING | The Southern African Community (SADC) is set to send a ministerial fact-finding mission to Lesotho today to assess the situation following the killing of the country’s army commander Lieutenant-General Khoantle Motsomotso, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement.
Lt-Gen Motsomotso was shot dead by rival officers at a military barracks on Tuesday, in an apparent assassination set to revive instability in the mountainous African kingdom.“True to one of its key objectives, which is to consolidate, defend and maintain democracy, peace, security and stability in the region, SADC will on 7th September 2017 dispatch a ministerial fact-finding mission to the kingdom to assess the situation and determine the required intervention mechanism,” read the statement.
President Jacob Zuma, as the new SADC chair, has condemned the “senseless and regrettable” killing of Lt-Gen Motsomotso, especially “because his killing happens two years after the killing of former Lesotho Defence Force Commander, Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao in June 2015, thus creating a dangerous pattern in the Kingdom of Lesotho”. Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, who fled the country in 2014 after a coup attempt and whose wife was shot dead in June, offered no details about the killings during a news conference other than saying the incident was being investigated.
Meanwhile, Angolan Minister of Foreign Affairs Georges Rebelo Chikoti travelled yesterday to Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, to assess the situation that led to the assassination of Lt-Gen Motsomotso. The Angolan minister is part of the SADC mission set to verify (from September 7 to 10), the causes of the murder of Lt-Gen Motsomotso as well as work on actions to avoid further deterioration of the situation in Lesotho.
Angola is the current chair of SADC’s Organ for Politics, Defence and Security.