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Shot editor moved to Bloem
13 July 2016

The Lesotho Times newspaper editor Lloyd Mutangamiri who was shot in the face late on Saturday, was transferred on Tuesday from the capital Maseru to a hospital in Bloemfontein.

Mutangamiri was shot at the gate of his house in Maseru just before midnight after completing the edition of the Sunday Express, a sister newspaper of the Lesotho Times.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa, (MISA) a regional media watchdog group, said Tuesday that Lesotho police had confirmed that a single bullet had been fire at Mutangamiri, causing severe trauma, particularly to his mouth. He was hospitalised under 24-hour police security in Maseru and neither the public nor his colleagues were allowed to see him for security reasons.

MISA Lesotho added that at noon on Tuesday he was relocated to Bloemfontein for further medical attention “According to police on guard Mutangamiri is stable”.

Mutangamiri was shot just days after his employer, Lesotho Times publisher Basildon Peta was charged with defamation and crimen injuria relating to a satirical column published by the Lesotho Times which suggested Lesotho's military chief General Tlali Kamoli was the real ruler of Lesotho. This referred to the fact that Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili has so far disregarded an instruction from regional leaders that he fire Kamoli.

This followed a recommendation of a regional commission of inquiry appointed by the regional leaders to investigate the killing of Kamoli's predecessor, General Maaparankoe Mahao, in June last year, by Lesotho soldiers.

Misa also said that Harvest FM radio reporter and current affairs presenter Bongani Faki reported that he had received death threats from an unknown man.

He described how this man had arrived at his home and brandished a gun, telling his children to tell Faki that he would be shot. Misa further said on May 6 there had been a shooting at the house of Professor Mafa Sejanamane. No one had been injured. Misa noted that Sejanamane manages a blog, Lesotho Analysis, which had criticised the government for failing to implement the recommendations of the regional leaders concerning the killing of Mahao.

“MISA Lesotho appeals to the government of Lesotho to commission urgent investigations into the attack against Mutangamiri and all other incidents that are undoubtedly aimed at silencing critical voices,” Misa said.

“Furthermore, the outcome of the investigations should be made public to enable informed decision-making by the people of Lesotho and the world, particularly in this very polarised and politically volatile situation.

“Without linking Mutangamiri's shooting with any of the previously mentioned information on this alert, MISA-Lesotho condemns the attack against Mutangamiri which it regards as a grave threat to media freedom and freedom of expression in Lesotho.”.



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