Many of the major towns of Lesotho like Maseru, Maputsoe, Hlotse and Mafeteng are showing signs of becoming havens of myriad social vices that one can think of . . . crime, drugs, gangsterism, prostitution, human trafficking; you name it.
These towns are also grappling with acute unemployment that has left many a young person frustrated and resorting to crime and anything intoxicating to feign courage to face life’s harsh realities. Young women have not also been spared the wrath of the current economic challenges, forcing some of them to turn to prostitution to eke out a living. We do not blame them.
However, the emergence of gangs in recent months, is worrisome. These gangs go by names like Twenty-eight, Twenty-six and Twenty-seven. Their members are young men whose specialities are rape, murder and car theft.
There is well-documented evidence of the kind of reign of terror that such gangs are capable of unleashing in communities.
Experience from neighbouring Free State has taught us that these gangs are particularly difficult to neutralise. Even the police have failed to wipe them out, prompting communities to resort to vigilantism to keep their neighbourhoods safe from the scourge of gang violence and crime.
We all know what angry community member are capable of, especially when they feel law enforcement agencies are not protecting them. The recent lynching of young men who gang-raped and killed a young woman at Thabong in Maseru is proof of this.
We urge our law enforcement agencies to act swiftly to nip this emerging phenomenon in the bud, for everyone’s sake