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Police investigations lead to exhumation in Lesotho

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In their quest to find Constable Molakelake Khetheng, who went missing in March last year, Lesotho Mounted Police Service's special investigations have turned to Lesotho Funeral Service's unknown corpse burials of December 2016. It is suspected that Khetheng was amongst the deceased buried at the time.

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Constable Molakelake Khetheng went missing in March 2016.

Acting commissioner of Police Holomo Molibeli told African Independent that "allegations that police found Constable Khetheng dead are not true. Police investigations are leading to the exhumation of a corpse which was amongst the ones buried by Lesotho Funeral Services in December 2016. It is suspected that Constable Khetheng was among the 'unknown or unidentified' corpses that the funeral service takes responsibility of burying."

The exhumation application has been submitted to the High Court of Lesotho. "After the approval, exhumation processes and corpse tests will be done. It is after that that we can be in a position to know whether his corpse was buried there or not," the acting police commissioner said.

The exhumation lead came after the Police Special Investigations Unit called one Inspector Mofolo and one Constable Ntoabe for interrogation at police headquarters.

Though it is not clear whether Mofolo and Ntoabe led police to the exhumation bid, police spokesperson Inspector Mpiti Mpeli told African Independent that "it was not the first time police officers were called for questioning after Constable Khetheng's disappearance".

Constable Khetheng, who was based in Mokhotlong police station, was arrested by four police officers based in Hlotse in broad daylight at Sebothoane in Leribe where he was attending a traditional ceremony in March 2016, and has since disappeared.

Constable Ntoabe was one of the four officers, the others being Makotoko, Molapo and Mphutlane.

The previous police minister, under then-prime minister Pakalitha Mosisili, denied before parliament that police arrested Khetheng. "He was seen around Hlotse police station and was later nowhere to be found after lunch when his colleagues wanted to talk to him," the minister claimed.

However, evidence by Constable Makotoko in a sworn statement reveals that either the minister deliberately lied to parliament or he was fed lies by the police.

Makotoko obtained an interim court order forbidding the police to transfer her from Hlotse to a remote station after she refused to sign a false affidavit about the disappearance of Khetheng. In her founding affidavit, she narrates that she and her three colleagues went via Sebothoane after being informed that Khetheng was likely to be found there.

They found him and put him at the back of a police van with two other suspects. On their way to Hlotse, their supervisor inspector Mofolo called the driver of the vehicle instructing him not to enter the police premises with Khetheng.

Since they were hungry the four officers went straight to the police station regardless and were stopped from entering the premises by Mofolo, who took over the keys of the vehicle.

After locking up the other two suspects in the cells, the four found that neither Mofolo nor the vehicle were around. That was the last time Khetheng was seen.

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