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Lesotho Imposes Curfew After Journalist Shot Dead

The authorities imposed the curfew in a bid to curb gun violence in the nation.

Authorities in the small southern African kingdom of Lesotho, have imposed an indefinite curfew in the hopes that restricting night-time pedestrian mobility will help reduce gun violence.

The nation was startled by the shooting death of a well-known radio broadcaster just days prior to the curfew’s implementation on Tuesday.

According to a notification posted in the official gazette on Tuesday, “a curfew is imposed on all persons throughout the Kingdom of Lesotho with effect from today.”

A statement signed by police commissioner Holomo Molibeli, stated that residents are not allowed to be outside between 10 p.m. (20:00 GMT) and 4 a.m. (02:00 GMT). According to Molibeli, the curfew will be in effect until further notice. Those who don’t comply risk paying a fee or spending up to two years in jail.

Lebona Lephema, the minister of police, stated that the action was intended to address gun violence nationwide.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), journalist Ralikonelo Joki—host of a current events program on a nearby private radio station was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen on Sunday night as he was leaving his place of business in Maseru.

Joki was best known for breaking a 2021 story about five lawmakers who were illegally dealing alcohol, according to the CPJ, who also noted that Joki covered government, agriculture, and corruption on his current affairs program “Hlokoana-La-Tsela” (I Heard It Through the Grapevine).

“The journalist received at least three death threats from different Facebook accounts in March and April related to his work as a journalist,” the group continued.

Investigations are still ongoing and no one has been arrested in relation to the case. The CPJ then requested that “a credible investigation” be opened by the authorities into the slaying.

Lesotho, a mountainous landlocked nation of two million people, frequently has gang-related shootings and has a significant number of illegal firearms in use.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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