General accused of coup bid leaves Lesotho

2014-11-22 22:10
An armed soldier stands outside the military headquarters in Maseru, Lesotho. (AP Photo)

An armed soldier stands outside the military headquarters in Maseru, Lesotho. (AP Photo)

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Maseru - The renegade general accused of leading a failed coup attempt in Lesotho has left the kingdom along with two of his rivals as part of a deal to restore security, the South African mediator said on Saturday.

Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli is under investigation for treason and murder following the 30 August putsch, which saw the military attack several police installations and the prime minister's residence, killing one police officer.

Kamoli as well as a rival general, Maaparankoe Mahao, and Lesotho police commissioner Lhotatso Tsooana left the small mountain kingdom on Friday for "working visits" in Uganda, Sudan and Algeria, respectively, said South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in a statement.

"This is an important confidence building measure in returning the country to security stability as this will add to the creation of a climate that is conducive for elections to take place in February 2015," Ramaphosa said.

Early last month, Ramaphosa as mediator for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the Lesotho crisis, helped broker a political agreement that re-opened parliament for the first time since June and pushed forward national elections by more than two years.

Then on 17 October, Ramaphosa convinced Kamoli to sign a security accord that called for him to take an indefinite "leave of absence", handing over control to his deputy commander.

Under the accord, Mahao and Tsooana were to similarly hand over authority to enable their two security forces to re-establish a "harmonious relationship".

Friction between the Lesotho military and police routinely turns violent and has been a major destabilising force in recent months.

Read more on:    sadc  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  lesotho  |  southern africa

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