CAPE TOWN: The South African Department of Defence on Sunday refuted reports that its special forces had helped foil a coup in Lesotho.
The Sunday Times reported that SA special forces helped whisk Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane across the border to safety just hours before a coup.
“I’m not sure that the reports from the Sunday Times are accurate. This matter is at a much higher level than just the defence force,” said Department of Defence spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini.
He said the South Africa government continued to monitor the situation.
This matter, he said, would be dealt with by the Southern African Development Community (SADC). South African government spokesman Clayson Monyela said earlier President Jacob Zuma would call a meeting of the SADC security organ to decide on further action.
Early Saturday morning, the Lesotho military raided the house of Thabane and seized the police headquarters and the Mabote police station in the capital of Maseru in a possible coup attempt.
According to Monyela, the military’s actions forced the prime minister to go into hiding in South Africa.
However, the prime minister said he was in South Africa visiting his daughter and would return to Lesotho on Sunday.
The military claimed that it took the action after receiving intelligence that police officers intended to pass arms and ammunitions to Thabane’s All Basotho convention called “Under the Tree”.
Trouble has been brewing in the kingdom since June, after Thabane dissolved parliament amid rumours that MPs were going to pass a vote of no confidence against him.
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