Renegade Lesotho general seizes weapons

2014-09-05 22:28

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Maseru - A Lesotho general suspected of involvement in last week's attempted coup has seized army weapons in preparation for a possible stand-off, a top military commander told AFP on Friday.

Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, who has refused to step down as the commander of the Lesotho Defence Forces, reportedly seized the weapons from state armouries.

"He has refused to vacate offices and depleted armouries," Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao said, adding the materiel was being used to prepare for "defensive and offensive" operations.

"Intelligence reports indicate he slips in and out of the mountains," Mahao added.

Prime Minister Tom Thabane asked Kamoli to relinquish his command a week ago.

Within hours of that order the military had attacked a host of police stations and Mahao - Kamoli's successor - had been the target of an attempted assassination. Thabane later fled to South Africa.

Intelligence sources say Kamoli has control of Lesotho's elite special forces unit of around 40 highly-trained troops, as well as the military's intelligence division.

Police said that during the attacks on their bases the military hunted for case files against Kamoli and other soldiers relating to corruption and a series of politically-motivated bomb attacks.

The military denies trying to stage a coup and says it raided police offices to get weapons it believed would have been given to "political fanatics".

Read more on:    tlali kamoli  |  lesotho  |  southern africa

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