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Interim leaders named

The multi-party Interim Political Authority (IPA) has elected two leading politicians to chair the body which will govern the mountain kingdom for the next 15 months until a general election, according to media reports on Wednesday.

At the first formal meeting of the IPA this week, delegates elected Dr Khauhelo Raditapole of the Basutoland Congress Party (BCP) and Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane of the Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) as co-chairmen of the IPA.

“The fact that in its first meeting, the IPA has elected the chair in a consensus demonstrates that the problems facing them in their work will be worked through,” said South Africa’s safety and security minister, Sydney Mufamadi. Mufamadi led a Southern African Development Community (SADC) team to observe the launch of the IPA which was established after a South African-led SADC military intervention in Lesotho earlier this year.

Meanwhile, three South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers were reported to have died in mysterious circumstances while on patrol in the Maluti mountains on the South African side of the border with Lesotho a week ago.

In a television interview on Tuesday night, a SANDF spokesman confirmed the deaths but declined to give further details. Another SANDF official said the men had died of exposure.

However, analysts said the situation on the South Africa-Lesotho border has been tense because of intensified cross-border livestock thefts. Last Friday, the South African Press Association reported the deaths of three South African farmers in a clash with members of the Lesotho Defence Force. It said the three were among a group of 25 farmers who had crossed the border to track livestock rustlers.

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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