by Hassan Isilow
The first contingent of troops from Zambia arrived in Lesotho Saturday as part of a standby force of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), meant to assist the security crisis in the country.
A senior Lesotho government spokesman, Ramakhula Ramakhula, told Anadolu Agency in a text message late Saturday that the Zambian contingent arrived at Maseru Bridge (the capital) at 22:30 Local time (08.30 GMT)
The SADC, a bloc of 15 southern African countries, approved in September the deployment of a standby force consisting of the military, intelligence and civilian experts to assist the Lesotho Defense Force (LDF) in managing the security crisis in the country.
The approval followed the murder of the LDF commander, Lieutenant-General Khoantle Motšomotšo by subordinates Brigadier Bulane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi.
Initially SADC had approved 1200 forces for the mission but has reduced the number to 258 due to budget constraints. Some of the contributing countries will include Namibia, Angola, Zambia and South Africa.
Lesotho, which went to the polls in June, has had a history of political instability, military coups and attempted coups.
Three years ago, the incumbent Prime Minister Thomas Thabane fled Lesotho to South Africa seeking protection because of fears he was an assassination target.
The SADC has sent several mediators to Lesotho including South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and regional ministerial fact finding missions to pacify the kingdom.