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Lesotho: Military intervention is not the answer

Dirco says military intervention is not the answer to Lesotho's political crisis.

People entering Lesotho at the Maseru Bridge border post immigration on 1 September 2014 while political tensions continue within the mountain kingdom. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Department of International Relations and Coorperation (Dirco) says military intervention is not the answer to Lesotho's political crisis.

This follows an attempted coup in the mountain kingdom at the weekend, which saw Lesotho's Prime Minister Thomas Thabane flee to South Africa.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states met in Pretoria on Monday, where it was agreed an observer mission would be deployed to Lesotho.

The department's Nelson Kgwete says, "Our key priority is to solve this political problem through political means, through dialogue. We are not intending to get the military involved because we believe that this problem requires dialogue amongst the parties."

Meanwhile, top Lesotho government officials stationed at a secret location in South Africa have described the horror of fleeing their homes and country amid political instability and infighting in Lesotho.

More than 150 government officials are in hiding as the SADC and President Jacob Zuma continue to try and find a resolution to the political impasse.

Soldiers from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) have encircled the secret location where over 150 Lesotho government officials are in hiding following a coup attempt in their country.

Spokesperson for Lesotho's Prime Minister, Thabo Thakalekoala, has blamed the military's former commander for the country's political turmoil.

"The ex-commander of the Lesotho Defence Force refused to step down, the reason being that he is involved in many cases of corruption. So he feared that once he steps down the corruption cases will go on in court. That is the main reason that sparked the whole conflict in Lesotho."

Thakalekoala has confirmed that top police officers and the newly appointed military commander have fled the country.

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