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Lesotho PM to be charged with murder of estranged wife: police

Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and Maesaiah Thabane, pictured alongside Zambian President Edgar Lungu, right, at Thabane’s inauguration, two days after the murder of the premier’s estranged wife © AFP/File / SAMSON MOTIKOE

Maseru, Lesotho, Feb 20 – Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane is expected on Friday to be charged with the murder of his estranged wife, who was gunned down two days before his inauguration in 2017, police said Thursday.

“It has been agreed with his lawyer that he will appear (in court) and he will be formally charged with… murder,” Deputy Police Commissioner Paseka Mokete told AFP.

Lilopelo Thabane, who was 58, was killed by unknown assailants on the outskirts of the capital Maseru in June 2017, two days before the premier, now aged 80, took office.

The couple had been embroiled in bitter divorce proceedings when Lipolelo was murdered in front of her home in the capital Maseru.

Her death shook the tiny mountainous kingdom of Lesotho, which is entirely surrounded by South Africa.

“It has to be understood that it does not necessarily mean he was there but that he was acting in common purpose,” Mokete said.

On Tuesday, Thabane’s current wife Maesaiah Thabane, 42, appeared in court charged with the same murder of her rival.

“She was charged (with murder) under common purpose even though she did not pull the trigger but people she was acting in consent with pulled the trigger,” said Mokete by phone.

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