Lesotho: Soldier Goes Berserk, Shoots At Court Registrar

The Assistant Registrar of the High Court and Appeal Court Advocate Mosito Rabotsoa recently escaped death by a whisker when a trigger-happy Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) officer shot at him at an eatery in Masianokeng.

The soldier allegedly accused Adv Rabotsoa of starring at his friends who were dancing before hurling insults and opening fire. Narrating his ordeal to the Lesotho Times this week, Adv Rabotsoa who also survived a 2015 shooting which claimed the lives of his four friends in Sea Point, Maseru, said he was lucky to escape the latest incident after the soldier's gun suddenly jammed while in the process of shooting at him. He said the soldier took to his heels after the gun jammed. By then he had fired two shots in a botched attempt to kill Adv Rabotsoa.

He said he was grateful to be alive after what was supposed to be a relaxed Friday afternoon with friends suddenly turned into a blood-curdling nightmare due to the soldier's inexplicable behaviour.

He said he had just joined his friends for a meal in Masianokeng when his would-be killer began hurling insults at them, accusing them of starring at his (the soldier's) friends who were dancing.

"The whole place was buzzing with people who had come for their entertainment and some of them were dancing to the loud music when the soldier started hurling insults at us," Adv Rabotsoa told the Lesotho Times.

"He (the soldier) accused us of starring at them, saying he didn't like it as it made them feel uneasy. I told him that we were in a public place and even asked him why he was bothered when the dancers did not even mind people looking at them. He replied by telling me that he was not used to civilians answering back at him.

"He then took out his gun and I told him that what he was doing was very risky and would get him in trouble.

"I moved away from the two people I was standing between before the guy pulled his trigger and fired two shots at me. Luckily he missed with both shots.

"His gun jammed while he was attempting to shoot for the third time and he panicked and fled. I was shaken- as was my seven year old son and the others who were watching," Adv Rabotsoa said.

He subsequently reported the matter to the police who immediately showed up at the scene and the LDF authorities who also followed up on the matter. This is the second time Adv Rabotsoa has escaped death by a whisker.

In 2015, he narrowly survived a shooting incident in Sea Point which claimed the lives of four of his friends.

LDF Assistant Chief of Staff Public Affairs and Protocol Brigadier Ntlele Ntoi confirmed Friday's shooting incident and expressed regret over the soldier's conduct.

"We are regrettably sorry and are already addressing the matter. Our Legal Directorate has already initiated a meeting with Adv Rabotsoa. And the officer, who is on study leave at the National University of Lesotho, has also been called in. He is due to appear before a disciplinary committee and his gun has been confiscated to avoid endangering more lives.

"We condemn this act in the strongest terms and we are very sorry. Adv Rabotsoa has promised to give us a feedback on the matter as he is yet to consult with his family and legal representatives. But we will definitely take some disciplinary measures against the officer," said Brig Ntoi.

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