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Inquiry into political violence

Lesotho on Monday announced the establishment of a commission of inquiry into the 1998 political violence which devastated the tiny kingdom and led to military intervention by South Africa and Botswana, media reports said.

The commission will identify the instigators and causes of the political turmoil and instability in the kingdom between July and November 1998, Deputy Prime Minister Kelebone Maope told the national assembly. It has also been mandated to examine whether there was a conspiracy to destabilise and overthrow the government of Lesotho.

The commission - comprising three South African judges who sit in the Lesotho Court of Appeal - is due to start its investigations on 25 April and complete its work within at least one and a half months, Maope said.

Maseru called for the intervention of foreign troops because it feared a coup after a mutiny in the army and months of anti-government protests, in the wake of a disputed ruling party Lesotho Congress of Democrats'(LCD) victory in the May 1998 election.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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