Rogue Lesotho soldier demoted

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A Lesotho Defence Force soldier has been demoted after soliciting bribes from people entering into Lesotho from South Africa at the Van Rooyen’s border gate.

He has been demoted from the rank of Corporal to Private after a Court Martial found him guilty of contravening military rules.

Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) spokesperson Captain Sakeng Lekola said they received a tipoff from a radio station and summoned people along the border who witnessed the soldier accepting bribes.

LDF commander, Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela condemned criminality within the ranks, and also expressed concern over two soldiers who deserted. He said the LDF was reliably informed the soldiers joined illegal mining networks in South Africa.

Speaking at a recent military parade at Makoanyane Barracks last month, he said the deserters are Private Shaabe and Private Motsie. They are both from the Food Production Unit in the LDF. There is concern their military training will be used by the ‘zama zamas’.

Last month, Chief of Staff of the Lesotho Defence Force, Major General Matela Matobakele, said they have been trying to negotiate with South African authorities to hand over arrested illegal miners who fled to South Africa after committing serious crimes in back Lesotho.

Letsoela also vowed to deal with high levels of violent crime in Lesotho, which are threatening national security and rendering the country an unsafe investment destination.

“We need to stop these criminals immediately. More so because we are a democratic state where everyone has a right to live freely. The crimes are a threat to a lawful democratic government and they are also badly affecting the economy. We will not be held at ransom by these criminals. I call upon the nation to come forward with information and tips to enable us to nab these criminals,” he said. In the final week of July, five women were murdered across Lesotho.