Lesotho Lawmakers Walk Out of Parliament Over Security Concerns

Opposition members in Lesotho’s parliament walked out on Tuesday to protest the government’s failure to respond to attacks targeting politicians, less than a week after King Letsie III fired the army commander.

Lawmakers with the Basotho National Party and All Basotho Convention were seeking to debate reports about assassination attempts against their lawmakers, which is causing some members of the parties to flee the country fearing for their safety. Their attempts have been blocked and Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing told parliament on Tuesday that the government will release a statement in response on Wednesday.

The country has been in turmoil since an attempted coup in August against former Prime Minister Tom Thabane, who was defeated during elections in February. Thabane, who leads the ABC party, has since fled to South Africa to seek protection, saying elements of the army are threatening to kill him and joining BNP leader Thesele Maseribane, the Johannesburg-based Mail & Guardian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Soldiers have also disappeared, ABC legislator Motlohi Maliehe said in parliament on Tuesday, without elaborating.

On May 22, Letsie III fired Lieutenant-General Maaparankoe Mahao, who had replaced the former army commander accused of leading the attempted coup. He didn’t give a reason.

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