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'Return to democratic governance immediately'

The South African and US governments have called for Lesotho to return to democratic governance.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Clayson Monyela addressing the media on political tensions in Lesotho on 30 August 2014. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African and US governments have called for Lesotho to return to democratic governance immediately.

Prime Minister Tom Thabane confirmed yesterday that the military had seized power in a coup and that he had fled over the border to the Free State.

South Africa is not sending troops to Lesotho yet.

The Commonwealth has become the latest group to condemn the attempted coup in Lesotho.

The African Union and Southern African Development Community have been called on to assist in returning the country to democratic governance.

Thabane confirmed yesterday that the military had seized power.

Reports said Lesotho soldiers seized control of the police headquarters and the premier's residence in the capital Maseru in the early hours of yesterday morning.

However, the mountain kingdom's military says it seized control of police headquarters to stop weapons from being distributed to protestors planning to march tomorrow.

It says troops then returned to barracks.

Reports also said four people were wounded in a shootout.

Lesotho has suffered a series of coups since independence in 1966, and the political temperature in the country has been rising rapidly in recent months.