Court hears details of Lesotho coup attempt

2010-07-16 15:49

Two illegal immigrants caught near Ladybrand last year told the

police they were involved in an attempted coup in Lesotho, an extradition

hearing heard today.

The Bloemfontein regional court was hearing an extradition

application by the Lesotho government for Alberto Makwakwa (40), Angelo Mondlani

(38), Mangani Malenge (44), Abel Nhatsane (45), George Thomas (44), Fransisco

Mandlani (38) and Rocky Mazinga (38).

The seven men were arrested in the Free State after gunmen opened

fire on and stormed Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s house in Maseru

on April 22 last year.

A police detective on border duty at the time, Lieutenant-Colonel

Rathehiso Letseleha, said he questioned several men who were caught along the

border on April 22 and later.

He went to meet a wounded man at the Mantsopa hospital, in

Ladybrand, who identified himself only as George Thomas.

They had difficulty in understanding each other as the wounded man

spoke a foreign language. This man was later transferred to the Pelonomi

hospital in Bloemfontein.

Letseleha testified that he later questioned another illegal

immigrant, named Alberto, who said he was shot by the Lesotho Defence Force

while trying to take over the (Lesotho) government.

Letseleha also questioned a group of illegal immigrants arrested

near Ladybrand on April 22, who alleged that they were contractors working for a

businessman named Jessie.

The policeman said he was informed a few days later about a man who

was arrested in a Ladybrand informal settlement for loitering.

The man, Simon Nguni, turned out to be an illegal immigrant and

apparently also knew about the alleged coup attempt in Lesotho.

Nguni, who is a state witness, is to testify next week.

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