Shot journo demands millions


MASERU (TNS) – The former editor of a local publication, Lesotho Times, who was injured in an attack by suspected members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) is demanding about M13million in damages from the army.

The attack which happened at Ha Thamae in Maseru in 2016 saw Mr. Lloyd Mutungamiri shot two times and left in a critical condition after one of the bullets shattered his lower jaw, requiring him to undergo extensive facial surgery.

He is claiming M12,997,500 damages for hospital expenses, pain and suffering, loss of amenities, and loss of income.

Mr. Mutungamiri has filed the claim in the Lesotho High Court, where he is claiming M3 million; for hospital and medical expenses, M3 million for further medical expenses; M6 million for pain and suffering and loss of amenities of life; M3 million for spitely comments; M665,000 for loss of earning capacity, and M32,500 for damage to his wife’s vehicle.

In his court papers Mr. Mutungamiri says that on or about July 9, 2016 he was unlawfully attacked and shot at, at the entrance to his home.

“One of the bullets passed through the mouth and inflicted serious damage to his various oral areas thereby searing his tongue, lips, left side oral tissue before lodging below his ear.”

In the process, the crushed broken glasses from the broken car window entered and cut Mr. Mutungamiri’s eyes and caused further serious facial injuries. The other bullet hit him on the right hand and broke his two fingers.

After the shooting, he lost control of his car and rammed into his wife’s car parked in the garage, damaging its boot and bonnet.

According to the court papers, Mr. Mutungamiri’s family was forced to relocate to a guest house in neighbouring South Africa.

Meanwhile, five members of the LDF have since been charged with the attempted murder of Mr. Mutungamiri. Their trial began in December last year.

Rights organisations welcomed the arraignment of the suspects, with Amnesty International having warned that “the trial needs to send a clear message that the targeting of journalists will not be tolerated in Lesotho”.

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