Picture: Twitter

Johannesburg - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has condemned Tuesday's killing of the head of Lesotho's army, Lieutenant General Khoantle Motsomotso, and said it is sending a "fact-finding mission" to the country.

Motsomotso was killed, while two senior officers who were allegedly responsible for the murder, were also killed in a shoot-out at a barracks in the capital Maseru.

Eyewitnesses said the officers burst into the army chief's office and shot him, before being killed by guards, the BBC reported.

The SADC said it had learnt of the news with "deep shock, sadness and dismay" and called the shooting an "inexcusable barbaric and heinous act", further describing the incident as a "serious blight and set back to the ongoing efforts to restore peace, security and stability to Lesotho".

Following the incident, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane urged people to remain calm.