Unidentified assailants shot dead the wife of incoming Prime Minister Tomas Thabane in the town of Masana, located on the outskirts of the capital Maseru. The incident occurred on Wednesday, June 14, two days before the Thabane’s scheduled inauguration. The motive behind the killing is currently unknown and an investigation is underway. The potentially political assassination raises fears of an outbreak of political violence.
Lesotho held elections in February 2015 following a failed coup attempt against then-Prime Minister Thabane. A few months after he relinquished power to Pakalitha Mosisili, Thabane fled the country along with two other opposition leaders, claiming their lives were in danger.
Various exiled Lesotho opposition leaders, including Thabane - leader of the Basotho Convention - returned to the country last month to join forces with Monyane Moleleki of the Alliance of Democrats (AD) party to challenge Mosisili's government. This return was followed by elections on June 3, the third in five years, following a vote of no confidence that terminated Mosisili's fragile coalition government on March 1. Thabane's Basotho Convention won 48 parliamentary seats, compared with the 30 won by Mosisili's Democratic Congress.
Individuals present in Lesotho are advised to keep abreast of the sociopolitical climate as violence may flare up without warning.