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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Lesotho ‘coup’: Sadc rejects Thabane’s troop request

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Regional leaders have rejected calls by Lesotho’s exiled Prime Minister Thomas Thabane for the immediate deployment of troops to help restore order in his country, an official has told the BBC.
Instead, an observer team would be urgently sent to Lesotho, she said.
Mr Thabane fled to South Africa on Saturday, claiming the military had staged a coup – a charge it denied.
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma hosted emergency talks with Mr Tabane and others on Monday.
Lesotho, a mountain kingdom surrounded by South Africa, has experienced several coups since independence in 1966.
The latest unrest is understood to be linked to a power struggle between Mr Thabane, reportedly supported by the police, and Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, said to have the loyalty of the army.

Both of them attended the talks convened by Mr Zuma in Pretoria under the banner of the South African Development Community (Sadc) regional bloc.

The two leaders had agreed to “clear timetables” that would lead to the restoration of parliament, according to a statement by Sadc.

Its restoration was a key demand of Mr Metsing.

‘Exchange of fire’

Earlier on Monday, his supporters abandoned plans to protest in the capital, Maseru, over Mr Thabane’s decision in June to suspend parliament after being threatened with a no-confidence vote.

Maseru is calm, but there are fears that conflict could erupt again, reports the BBC’s Nomsa Maseko from South Africa’s main city, Johannesburg.

The military is said to be rounding up policemen and stripping them of their uniforms, she says.

Some policemen have reportedly abandoned their posts and fled to South Africa, our correspondent adds.

Sadc executive Stergomena Tax told the BBC that regional leaders had ruled out sending troops to Lesotho any time soon.

Read More:BBC News – Lesotho ‘coup’: Sadc rejects Thabane’s troop request.

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