MASERU – Two suspects nabbed following the March 21 afternoon Maseru CBD armed robbery along the Kingsway appeared in court last Friday.
The robbery happened at the MetCash Building housed Sky Country Butchery on Kingsway Road, setting a movie-style shooting spree between the robbers, nearby security guards and the police.
The two suspects are Thabiso Masollane and Tanki Seipati of Mohlanapeng, Thaba-Tseka, but resident at Upper Thamae in Maseru. Tanki worked at the targeted butchery.
They are both accused of murder, attempted murder of several people present at the scene of crime at the time of the incident, armed robbery and possession of illegal guns with ammunition.
Police said the suspects are police custody waiting to appear before court again on April 9.
Police investigations continue, with two of the total six suspects still at large; another suspect is in hospital fighting for his life while another was killed on the day of the robbery.
Following the sensational armed robbery attempt, a direct witness who works at the shop told Public Eye that she became suspicious of the first three suspects as soon as they got in the shop.
“Just after 1400hrs, three men entered the store along with a few customers, but I kept my eyes on them for some time because they looked very suspicious, it looked like they were communicating in a coded way,” she said.
She said she alerted one of her colleagues of her suspicion and the two decided to go outside leaving the suspects and some staff members in the shop.
“We stood by the entrance, one suspect took an item off the shelves and attempted to pay, and then I spoke from outside warning the cashier telling her ‘we do not have enough change’ as a way to make her not open the till,” she explained.
“In no time I felt a pat on my shoulder and heard a voice ordering me back into the shop if I did not want to die,” she recalled.
She said she panicked and screamed calling out for help from a security guard at a nearby shop.
“I started hearing gunshots soon after that. That is when the shootout broke out and the security guard was shot dead on the spot. I somehow managed to escape the danger,” she said.
Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent, Mpiti Mopeli, confirmed that there were six suspects at the scene and one of them was apprehended at the time.
Following an upsurge in incidents of robbery around the country, the Lesotho Mounted Police Service earlier this year warned local businesses and the general public to desist from keeping large amounts of cash in their premises and persons.
Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said robbers were on the prowl, hitting on businesses and waylaying people who would have withdrawn large sums of money from banks.
He urged people to transact their cash immediately after withdrawals since criminals follow unsuspecting victims from banks and ATMs.