Police chief issues amnesty for illicit arms


. . . warns journalist against reporting on famo gangs


MASERU – Acting Commissioner of Police Dr. Mahlape Morai announced on Tuesday this week that individuals illegally possessing firearms, ammunition, and weapons should surrender them to nearest police stations or village chiefs between May 21 and June 5. She said the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) is aware of the high rate of illegal firearm ownership among Basotho.

Dr. Morai, who was addressing a media briefing at the police headquarters, noted that the LMPS arrests individuals daily for unlicensed guns, which greatly contribute to a high death rate as weekly reports indicate fatalities involving illegal firearms. Consequently, Dr. Morai launched an operation called “Silencing Guns in the Kingdom of Lesotho,” or “Khutsisa Molumo oa Lithunya Ka Hare Ho Naha Ea Lesotho,” aimed at ensuring the safety of citizens.

“We call upon everyone to hand over all unlicensed guns and weapons within these 14 days to their nearest police station or village chiefs to make this operation a success,” she said. She assured the nation that individuals surrendering firearms will not face identity disclosure, as these 14 days are set aside for amnesty. However, the firearms will be inspected to ensure they were not involved in criminal activities.

If found otherwise, investigations will follow, and responsible individuals will be questioned. Dr. Morai warned that after the 14-day amnesty, anyone found with an unlicensed firearm, shotgun, or weapon will be arrested and prosecuted. She urged people to avoid hiding side-arms in their homes and to report individuals with illegal firearms to the police.

Dr. Morai reported that as of April 15, there were 57 deaths and 47 firearms incidents in the North Region. Weekly reports continue to indicate firearm-related deaths. “Lately, people are being killed using firearms,” she said. Speaking at the same media conference, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) responsible for finance and infrastructure development, Paseka Mokete explained that unlicensed firearms, once collected and verified as not involved in criminal activities, will be publicly destroyed to prevent misuse.

Dr. Morai also referenced Legal Notice No. 40 of 2024, issued on May 10, which declares Famo music organisations unlawful. Supporting, promoting, or encouraging Famo music is now illegal, and individuals found listening to it will be considered unlawful.

She particularly warned journalists to desist from covering banned famo gangs and their leaders which would be deemed illegal under the gazetted notice. DCP Mokete further clarified that any organisation whose activities qualify as subversive under the Act will be outlawed, even if not specifically mentioned in the legal notice.

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