Lesotho PM's personal security to be stepped up

The regional police guard protecting Thomas Thabane is about to be increased.

Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The regional police guard protecting Lesotho's Prime Minister Thomas Thabane is about to be increased.

Sources close to last night's Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit focusing on the political crisis in the mountain kingdom say Namibia is about to deploy a special unit to Maseru.

A tactical South African police unit went back home with Thabane when he ended his brief exile in South Africa after an abortive coup at the end of August.

The South African guardians stayed in place because the dispirited Lesotho police are unable to protect the premier.

The close protection unit has been swelled by a Zimbabwean police contingent.

In Pretoria last night, Namibia committed at least 20 of its police to these duties.

Thabane and Lesotho's political leadership have been ordered by the SADC summit to call speedy elections two years before they're constitutionally obliged to.

Lesotho, a mountainous state of two million people, has suffered a several coups since independence from Britain in 1966.

Besides textile exports and a slice of regional customs receipts, Lesotho's other big earner is hydropower and water, both of which it supplies to neighbour South Africa.

Meanwhile, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will act as a SADC facilitator in helping to restore stability to Lesotho.

Ramaphosa's mandate was finalised during last night's summit.