Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane deployed the army in Maseru on Saturday against unnamed “rogue national elements” he said wanted to destabilise the southern African country.
A Reuters witness saw armoured vehicles and armed soldiers with riot gear patrolling the city centre. The soldiers seemed to return to barracks later.
Thabane (80) faces problems strife in his personal and political life.
His decision last month to suspend parliament, without consultation, over the coronavirus epidemic was branded unconstitutional by coalition partners and by 20 rivals in his own party, who challenged it in the constitutional court and called on him to quit.
Opposition lawmakers threaten a vote of no-confidence. Lesotho is one of the few countries in the world that has not yet reported a single confirmed case of COVID-19.
Thabane is also accused with his current wife Maesaiah of being involved in the murder of his former wife Lipolelo, shot dead in June 2017. Thabane, in his second stint as prime minister, and Maesaiah deny the charges.
“I deployed the army to take necessary measures against rogue national elements who seem to be on a campaign to destabilise the country and its democracy and restore order with immediate effect,” Thabane said in a television address broadcast live.