By Neo Kolane
The 345 families who make up the community of Kolojane in the Berea are living in fear following a recent spate of murders believed to be ritual killings characterized by harvesting of victims’ body parts.
Since the past year, several dwellers have been mugged and killed, incidents that have raised the eyebrows of the community members. They now think their safety is in jeopardy and demand the police to act promptly.
The hard-to-swallow pill situation has left the community wondering as to who was behind the criminal acts that have shocked them.
But yesterday’s public gathering might have shed some light on the identity of the perpetrator who has unleashed his might to terrorise the villagers.
The Berea district police chief Senior Superintendent ‘Mapuleng Setsomi was mindful of an alleged brutal killing of Lerotholi Seisa, an adult male of Kolojane.
His body was found in a donga with an open wound in his neck. His throat had been slit and removed from the body. It is said there were no visible blood stains on the scene, sparking strong suspicion that he might have been slaughtered somewhere.
According to Setsomi, the case was handled by the Mapoteng police who investigated it and brought it before the court whereby 21-year old Molupe Sekati, also of Kolojane, was charged with the murder that occurred on March 1 2020.
She said the case was still pending in court.
“As police officers we have completed the investigation and await the court decision,” she told the gathering hosted to warn the public against crime and lawlessness.
Setsomi was also mindful of another incident whereby Mohau Moseli, aged 34, was seriously assaulted. Clues pointed yet to Sekati who was again arrested. Other suspects were still on the run.
“His cases were heard but what was left is for other suspects with whom he committed the crimes are apprehended,” she briefly remarked.
“In a third case, it was reported that Sekati was once shot and injured. He was admitted in hospital and was later released. The shooting pointed to Makalang Khang who was arrested and faced attempted murder,” Setsomi told the gathering.
The other suspects in Molupe’s shooting are also on the run and police have launched a manhunt.
“In another development, Sekati reported that his vehicle was damaged and that police have started investigating the incident,” she said.
Again, she revealed that the investigators were also on the heels of suspects who killed Leshoboro Seisa. The police investigation is going on. He was mauled by unknown men.
Setsomi has pleaded with the community members to “come forward to give any information relating to the incidents.”
At one stage, the Mapoteng police in collaboration with the World Vision organised a public policing forum that train the personnel on policing methods and preventing crime. The participants were armed with measures to monitor and prevent crime.
She urged the community members to report their grievances against the police to the Mapoteng police station commander Senior Inspector Mofihli Sefatsane. If not satisfied, she urged, they should contact her office.
At the same gathering, Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Major General Matela Matobakele said the army was on a mission to encourage the community to work towards cooperating with the army and the police for peaceful co-existence.
He warned the people in the area to choose between peace and violence. He beseeched the villagers as mature adults to cooperate with the chief for attainment of peace.
He reminded the public about an incident whereby one villager was run over by a speeding car in broad day light and termed the behavior as unacceptable.
Matobakele warned against turning a deaf ear to such incidents, saying they will be forced to take measures against crime.
“The work of the police is to investigate further the crimes that occurred,” Matobakele.
The resident who talked to the paper, said it was believed Seisa was killed because he had fathered twins in two instances. The first two died some time ago.
The source who cannot be named for safety told the rumour was doing the rounds that as a matter of fact Seisa’s killers were actually baying for the blood of his wife. They wanted to mutilate her private parts apparently for medicinal purposes, she added.
According to her, the security agents were informed about the incident while the police allegedly instructed the community to arrest the suspect themselves so as to be handed to law enforcement officers.
She said the suspect has now banded together some men who cause havoc in the village by beating and assaulting them. Gunshots are heard almost daily but it seems the police are doing little to bring an end to the ravaging criminal activities,” she said confidentially.
At another time, she claimed to have reported the incidents to the army members stationed at Mokotakoti seeking their intervention. In addition, some villagers were receiving threatening calls.
In another shocking act, the cousin of Leshoboro was murdered by unknown assailant
“After the death of Leshoboro, we fasted hoping and praying that the marauding suspect would perish mysteriously,” she remembered.
The suspect is associated with an unknown person who had put a picture of a woman’s foot with a tattoo on a tree at St. Monica in Leribe that went viral last year.
Rumours had it also that he was once heard saying he would continue to buy luxury cars as blood was expensive. His latest vehicle was dubbed ntat’a mafahla (father of twins), seemingly in reference to deceased Lerotholi.
The chief of Kolojane, Seisa Seisa said his uncle was killed last year. The body was cut into pieces it was believed that the suspect lived in Kolojane.
Seisa said the suspect took refuge in Gauteng, South Africa. When he made it back home he was arrested. Later, he was seen roaming the streets.
The information given to the police fell on dearth ears as no concrete action was taken to bring him to book.
Seisa said that he has been at loggerheads with the police after it was alleged they were linked to the slaying of his uncle.
He bids that the law should take its course to bring to an end the raging criminal acts among his subjects.
Meanwhile, the president of the Lesotho Council of Traditional Healers, Malefetsane Liau, said people engage in ritual killings for various misplaced reasons such as the pursuit of wealth.
“Some get lied to by unscrupulous traditional medicine practitioners, and end up killing and harvesting people’s body parts. In traditional medicine, that practice is not permitted. It is diabolical. We do not encourage it. Anyone who is guilty of the crime deserves to be prosecuted.”
People who commit ritual murder believe that they will gain supernatural powers and therefore be rich. Some perpetrators are influenced by beliefs that human body parts will give some powers.
Some body parts and their perceived uses
Fingers – used as an ingredient in a potion that attracts luck and customers to a business
Heart – for fortification
Genitals (male and female) – for fortification
Testicles – to attract wealth
Ear – for prosperity
Womb – a bad luck spell
Heart – Power and protection of a business
Head – fortification
Armpits – safety from enemies; also used to cast a bad luck spell on someone
Inner thighs and armpits – protection from gunshots
Kidneys – a wealth charm