30 August 2014

Lesotho: Reported Coup Attempt in Lesotho

Photo: Sarah Fretwell/UN
Motsoahae Thomas Thabane, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho.

Gunfire was heard in Lesotho early Saturday morning as military units surrounded government buildings, including police offices in the capital.

Witnesses say the move is apparently part of a coup attempt in the small mountainous southern African kingdom that is entirely surrounded by South Africa.

VOA spoke to a staffer at the U.S. Embassy in Lesotho's capital, Maseru, who confirmed that soldiers were patrolling the streets. He did not say who was behind the apparent coup attempt.

VOA spoke to another American Embassy staffer who confirmed reports of a coup attempt but gave no details. Neither person reported any casualties.

Diplomatic officials in South Africa could not be reached for comment early Saturday, but local media reported that they would release information later in the day.

A shaky coalition has governed Lesotho since elections two years ago. Coalition partners patched up the fragile deal through mediators in June.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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