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Heads roll at LCS after prison breakout

HEADS have started rolling at the Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) following the escape of six inmates and the alleged torture of 100 others. Two senior LCS officers were this week suspended pending investigations into the escape and torture that has left the prison management and government official with egg on their faces.

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Assistant Commissioner Tsoto Manaka, who manages the Lesotho Correctional LCS training school, and the Maseru Commanding Officer Lipholo Nthako were suspended on Tuesday.

Nthako has been suspended because he manages the Maseru Central Prison from which six inmates escaped on December 21.
Manaka has been suspended because he is alleged to have been among the several prison officers who tortured 100 inmates in the aftermath of the escape.

His name is mentioned in a letter of demand for compensation that nine soldiers, who were among the tortured, wrote to Justice Minister Richard Ramoeletsi and LCS Commissioner Mating Nkakala.

The soldiers have not specified how much they want from the government and the LCS but some of their lawyers say it could be several millions.
The allegations against Manaka could indicate that the instruction for torture and its execution came from the very top of the LCS.

By being an assistant commissioner, Manaka was the most senior officer present during the alleged brutal torture that led to dozens of inmates being admitted to hospital with serious injuries.

thepost understands that about 10 warders who were on duty when the escape happened could also be sent home.

Five other officers who were named as perpetrators of the torture also face the same fate. The five, who include Manaka, are already under police investigation for assaulting inmates moments after the breakout was discovered.

The police are also investigating the alleged murder of Bokang Tsoako, one of the escapees. Police suspect Tsoako was assaulted to death by prison warders hours after he was recaptured in Mohalalitoe.

Minister Ramoeletsi announced the suspension of Nthako and Manaka on Tuesday.

“Additionally, the administration has moved forward with establishing a commission of inquiry,” Ramoeletsi said.

The LCS spokesman Pheko Ntobane said Commissioner Nkakala’s decision was meant to pave way for investigations.

“These two LCS officers’ suspension is to make sure there are no obstructions in the way of the ongoing internal investigations,” Ntobane said.

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