Picture: Twitter

Maseru - Lesotho's Chief of the Defence Force Lieutenant-General Khoantle Motsomotso was assassinated on Tuesday morning, allegedly by a group of high-ranking officers, sending shock waves through the mountain kingdom. 

Unconfirmed reports suggest the Chief of the Defence Force was ambushed by Colonel Sechele and Lt Col Hashatsi. 

It is claimed that both officers had received suspension or dismissal letters in a move by the Defence Force Chief to implement the SADC Commission's recommendations in order to restore stability in Lesotho. 

Motsomotso and one of the officers were killed in the shootout, while two high-ranking officers were critically injured at the Ratjomose Barracks in Maseru. 

It is alleged that the assassination took place on the heel of a number of soldiers being arrested by the police. The arrested soldiers are believed to be suspects in the murder of Lisebo Tang, who was killed near the residence of the former Army Commander Tlali Kamoli in 2014. 

President Jacob Zuma has condemned the killing and expressed his revulsion. 

"On behalf of SADC, President Zuma condemns in the strongest terms the senseless and regrettable killing of General Motsomotso, especially because his killing comes two years after the killing of the former Lesotho Defence Force Commander Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao in June 2015, thus creating a dangerous pattern in the country," a press release issued by the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation has stated.

SADC had hoped that the recent democratic elections would bring political stability to the country. On Thursday SADC will dispatch a Ministerial Fact-Finding Mission to the Kingdom to assess the situation and determine what intervention is required.

Group Foreign Editor