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Lesotho military commander takes over special forces

The unit includes around 40 highly-trained troops and the military's intelligence division.

An immigration sign at the Maseru Border gate in Lesotho. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Lesotho's former military commander has taken control of the country's Elite Special Forces Unit apparently in preparation for a possible stand-off.

The unit includes around 40 highly-trained troops and the military's intelligence division.

Lieutenant general Tlali Kamoli has refused to step down as the commander of the Lesotho defence force after he was fired for alleged corruption involving millions of rand.

Kamoli has been accused of destabilising the mountain kingdom last week after he apparently plotted a coup.

He has apparently seized an unknown number of weapons from state armouries.

Lesotho police say during the attacks on their bases the military searched for case files against Kamoli and other soldiers relating to corruption and a series of politically-motivated bomb attacks.

The military has denied this, saying it raided police offices to seize weapons it believed would have been given to Prime Minister Thomas Thabane's enemies.

Thabane returned home last week under police guard following Southern African Development Community's intervention.

But despite this move, more than 150 government officials remain in hiding, fearing for their lives.

It's still unclear when the South African police guarding Thabane's home will return home.