Minister warns Basotho in SA to behave


Lesotho nationals living in Bloem attacked over the killing of SA tarven owner  

Three foreign nationals arrested by SA police for the murder

Staff Reporter

MASERU – The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Lejone Mpotjoane, has warned Basotho living in South Africa to refrain from taking the law into their own hands following the outrage that rocked the Free State capital city of Bloemfontein this week.The brutal killing of the owner of By Hoek Lounge tavern and the treasurer of the Mangaung Concerned Community (MCC) movement, Thebe Mothibi, has triggered indignation in the Mangaung Metro’s suburbs of Phahameng and Rocklands in Bloemfontein.

Spokesperson of the Mangaung Metro police, Lieutenant Colonel Thabo Covane, said Mothibi, 46, was murdered while closing his outlet at about 1:05 am.

He said the deceased was attacked after he had intervened in a fight that broke out at the lounge before the end of business.

Covane said the three suspects arrested regarding Mothibi’s murder are foreign nationals. They are aged 26, 30, and 33 years. The trio appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday this week.

The outrage was directed at Lesotho nationals and vendors selling fruits and vegetables on the streets.

Angry community members in the two residential areas shut down numerous stalls owned by Lesotho nationals, following Mothobi’s gruesome murder in the early morning on Sunday.

Lesotho citizens were targeted when news went viral that the prime suspects connected to the killing of the businessman originated from Lesotho.

On Tuesday, Mpotjoane said in a statement that the illegal undertakings committed by Basotho in South Africa are likely to taint good and warm relations between the two countries and should be avoided at all costs.

“It is illegal for people to take the law into their own hands because it affects relations between these countries. We take this opportunity to pass our sincere condolences towards the government of South Africa, the deceased’s family, and friends regarding the untimely death,” the Ministry said.  

A section of the Moshoeshoe Road, where Mothibi’s business is situated, was closed and traffic was directed to alternate routes as angry residents barricaded the road with stones and burning tyres.

As tension rose later on in the day, members of the Public Order Policing (POP) unit were deployed to try and restore order. The police used rubber bullets to disperse protesters who closed off the road, sitting in chairs in both lanes of the road.

Eight people were injured during the fracas that followed and some were admitted to Pelonomi Hospital.

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