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Lesotho army chief and two officers gunned down, tensions rise in Maseru


Lesotho’s army chief and two other senior officers were shot dead on Tuesday leaving the country in a tense state.

The shooting according to media reports took place at an army barracks killing Khoantle Mots’omots’o and the two others.

A top military officer told Reuters that the two slain officers were the subject of a probe into the killing of another Lesotho defence commander in 2015. They will, however, not wade into talk that the two killed Mots’omots’o and were in turn shot dead by other soldiers.

The country’s only neighbour, South Africa, called for calm with President Jacob Zuma expressing his outrage at the incident. Zuma who is head of the regional bloc, Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) said the body will send a mission to Lesotho on Thursday.

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.

Lesotho has been through bouts of political turbulence since the attempted coup in 2014 and its last three elections – most recently in June – have failed to produce winners with clear majorities.

The kingdom has been subject to several coups and periodic political violence since gaining independence from Britain in 1966.

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