Lesotho: Army occupies police and government buildings in suspected coup attempt
The African country has seen a rise in political tensions in recent months
Saturday 30 August 2014
The military in the small African state of Lesotho has occupied police stations and surrounded government buildings in a possible coup attempt.
A guard at the US Embassy in the capital, Maseru, said gunfire was heard early on Saturday morning and has since stopped but reports of shots on Twitter continue.
“The military has been moving around from three o'clock in the morning, occupying police stations in Maseru and moving around to other districts,” said Bernard Ntlhoaea, the guard.
The military was armed and he saw at least one armoured personnel carrier on the streets.
Radio stations were not broadcasting in the country, except for a Catholic station, and phone lines were reportedly jammed.
Thomas Thabane, Prime Minister of Lesotho, addressing the United Nations General Assembly in 2013 Tensions have been running high in the landlocked country since June, when Prime Minister Thomas Thabane suspended the country's parliament to avoid being ousted in vote of no confidence amid feuding in the coalition government of two years.
South Africa attempted to mediate after the attempted coup and warned political rivals that any unconstitutional change of government would not be tolerated.
Lesotho, which is completely surrounded by South Africa, has undergone several military coups since gaining independence from Britain in 1966 and held its first peaceful elections in 2002 under a new voting system.
In 1998, at least 58 Lesothans and eight South African soldiers died and large parts of Maseru were damaged during a political stand-off and subsequent fighting.
Around 40 per cent of its two million citizens are thought to live below the international poverty line.
Additional reporting by PA
- 1 Games of Thrones actor Lena Headey makes emotional promise to her unborn daughter
- 2 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
- 5 Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...