The Lesotho government says it has not been approached by SA law enforcement agencies regarding five identified suspects in the Mdlalose’s tavern mass murder case.
The neighbouring country also distanced itself from the shooting incident, but it indicated that it will assist if suspected killers are hiding in the Mountain Kingdom.
Sowetan reports that some of the identified suspects are Lesotho nationals that returned to their home country after the shooting at Mdlalose’s tavern in July, when 16 patrons were killed and seven injured.
Sowetan has also been reliably informed that last month a group of investigators from SAPS travelled to Lesotho with warrants of arrests, hoping to engage Lesotho police to effect the arrests and hand over the suspects at the Maseru border.
However, it appears the trip was not successful as SAPS members came back empty-handed.
Last week, the leader of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) party in Lesotho, Nkaku Kabi, pledged his support for zama zamas operating in SA, saying they had come to SA to seek greener pastures.
He also blasted Lesotho government officials for turning their backs on zama zamas.
This week, Gauteng premier David Makhura and Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela and his deputy Maj-Gen Mbuso Khumalo told reporters that police have approached a SADC country with intentions to extradite five suspects for the shooting.
However, Lesotho government spokesperson Samuel Rapapa said they have not been approached.
“We are aware of the tavern shooting incident in Soweto, but we are not involved in any of the investigations. The Lesotho government is prepared to assist in the case if wanted suspects are Basotho nationals.
“If the suspects have moved to Lesotho, then the South African government must give us their details and we will assist in their arrest. We will never hide criminals in our country,” said Rapapa yesterday.
Makhura earlier said local police are talking with authorities in one of the countries in SADC about looming arrests.
“Police in Gauteng are working with the authorities in that affected country to bring those killers back here. We need them back here to face the might of the law. We also want to understand why they carry out these killings,” said Makhura.
Yesterday, Makhuras ’Mawela claim during supported a television interview that warrants of arrest have also been obtained and two of the suspects worked for the army and the police in their country.
“My detectives have identified those who killed people at Mdlalose’s tavern. The police have even approached the court and they got a warrant of arrest for those individuals. The five suspects have fled to one of the neighbouring countries. A South African police delegation went to that country to discuss with their counterparts about this case.
“We don’t want to reveal the name of the involved country at this moment, but once police that side have done their part, those suspects will be brought back to SA to stand trial,” he said when asked to reveal the name of the country the identified suspects have fled to.
More than 130 AK-47 cartridges were found at the murder scene in Orlando and police obtained videos and pictures that are being used to trace the identified shooters.
The majority of the people who were killed at the scene were from KwaZulu-Natal, only one Lesotho national was among them.
The motive for the killing is not yet known.