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'I will not go back to get killed': Lesotho PM flees to South Africa

Thomas Thabane says he has fled in fear of his life, after the country’s military took over buildings in the capital, Maseru.

Thomas Thabane - file photo
Thomas Thabane - file photo
Image: Susan Walsh/AP/Press Association Images

LESOTHO PRIME MINISTER Thomas Thabane confirmed today that the military had seized power in a coup and that he had fled to neighbouring South Africa in fear of his life.

“I have been removed from control not by the people but by the armed forces, and that is illegal,” Thabane told the BBC.

I came into South Africa this morning and I will return as soon as my life is not in danger. I will not go back to Lesotho to get killed.

Lesotho’s territory is surrounded on all sides by South Africa. At 30,355 square kilometres, it is about the same size as Belgium. It has a population of around two million.

There have been a number of military coups since the nation achieved independence from Britain in 1966.

Lesotho’s military seized control of police headquarters and the premier’s residence in the capital Maseru in the early hours of today but later withdrew, a government minister told AFP.

Sports minister and leader of the Basotho National Party, Thesele Maseribane, accused Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, leader of coalition partner Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), of involvement in the move to seize power.

Includes reporting from AFP.

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