Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mozambique Confirms Link To Failed Lesotho Coup

MAPUTO 11 August 2009 Sapa-dpa


Four attackers killed in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho during
a failed assassination attempt against Prime Minister Pakalitha
Mosisili in April were from Mozambique, a senior Mozambican
official was quoted as saying Tuesday.

At a press conference in Mozambique's capital Maputo Monday,
High Commissioner to South Africa Fernando Fazenda said the four
men killed in a shootout with Mosisili's guards at his residence in
Lesotho's capital Maseru, were Mozambican mercenaries.

A further five Mozambicans are in prison awaiting trial over the
attack, four of them in South Africa and one in Lesotho, Fazenda
said. Fazenda echoed the Lesotho government in calling the attack a
"failed coup attempt."

According to Fazenda, the men were former soldiers, who were
lured from Mozambique to South Africa with the promise of work as
security guards on 2010 World Cup construction sites.

Once in South Africa, they were transferred, together with a
group of South African and Lesotho nationals, to a camp near the
border with Lesotho, where they were informed of their mission,
Fazenda said.

"They were told not to worry as the mission was being carried
out in conjunction with Lesotho Defense and Security Forces. They
were given firearms and a vehicle that took them to the operation
site," he said. The group had comprised about 30 Mozambicans.

The whereabouts of the remaining Mozambicans is unknown. It was
unclear how many South Africans and Basotho were involved and how many, if any, had been arrested.

Fazenda said the bodies of the four deceased mercenaries would
be repatriated to Mozambique following a request by their

The attack in Lesotho followed over two years of political
instability in the tiny kingdom following disputed parliamentary
elections in February 2007, which returned the Lesotho Congress for
Democracy to power.

The opposition has steadfastly refused the post-election
allocation of seats in parliament.

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