Zuma leads talks on Lesotho crisis
South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma, will meet Lesotho’s Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane on Monday to try to resolve a political crisis in the small mountain kingdom after an apparent coup there over the weekend, a government spokesman said.
Thabane fled Lesotho for South Africa early on Saturday, hours before the army surrounded his residence and overran police stations in the capital Maseru, in what the prime minister called a coup by the military.
Lesotho’s army denied seeking to oust Thabane, saying it moved against police suspected of planning to arm a political faction in the southern African nation.
One policeman was shot dead and four others wounded, Reuters reports.
The unrest stems from a power struggle between Thabane, who is supported by the police and Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, who has the loyalty of the army, diplomats said.
Tension had risen since Thabane suspended parliament in June amid feuding in the two-year-old governing coalition.
In Maseru, the atmosphere was quiet but tense on Monday after the police commissioner said soldiers had carried out further raids on police installations and even officers’ homes, taking away weapons and uniforms.
Commissioner Khothatso Ts’ooana told Public Choice FM radio station that this meant police would not be able to carry out their normal duties. Police stations were deserted and some officers had fled over the border into South Africa.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) defence and security troika, which includes officials from South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, met Thabane.
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