+   *    +     +     
About Us 
The Issues 
Our Research Products 
Order Publications 
Press Room 
Resources for Monitor Researchers 
Table of Contents
Country Reports
LESOTHO, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports


Key developments since March 1999: The treaty entered into force for Lesotho on 1 June 1999. Lesotho has not yet submitted its Article 7 transparency report, due by 27 November 1999. Officials confirmed that the LDF does not even keep landmines for training purposes.

Mine Ban Policy

The Kingdom of Lesotho signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 and ratified on 2 December 1998. The treaty entered into force for Lesotho on 1 June 1999. It is not known to have passed any domestic implementing legislation. While Lesotho has not yet submitted its Article 7 transparency report, due by 27 November 1999, it is aware of this obligation and intends to submit the report prior to the Second Meeting of State Parties.[1]

Lesotho attended the First Meeting of State Parties (FMSP) in Maputo in May 1999 with a delegation led by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Thomas Thabane. In a statement to the plenary, Minister Thabane referred to continued use of antipersonnel mines in the region and said, “Let us therefore use this occasion not only to celebrate, but to rededicate ourselves to the commitments and objectives of the Ottawa Process. For us in Southern Africa, let us commit ourselves to the goal of making our region a mine free zone. This is an achievable goal, but it requires sustained efforts from everyone.”[2] He went on to call on “all those governments which have publicly stated their support for an immediate and total ban, to match their words with actions by ratifying the Convention.”[3]

Lesotho has not participated in any intersessional meetings of the Mine Ban Treaty in Geneva. Lesotho was absent from the vote on UN General Assembly Resolution 54/54B calling for universalization of the treaty. Previously Lesotho supported pro-ban UNGA resolutions in 1996 and 1998. Lesotho is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons. It is not a member of the Conference on Disarmament.

The Lesotho Red Cross is an active member of a network of anti-landmine campaigns in southern Africa.

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling and Use

At the FMSP, Minister Thabane stated that “Lesotho does not use, buy or manufacture landmines, neither do we have any stockpiles of mines.”[4]

During the chaos that resulted in the South African-led SADC intervention in September 1998, rebel soldiers of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) claimed that they held landmines.[5] A journalist, Sechaba Ka’Nkosi, viewed three of the reported rebel hideouts in the mountains but was not allowed to see the weapons. While he could not confirm the claim, he told Landmine Monitor that at the time he found it convincing.[6] An LDF representative told Landmine Monitor that the Lesotho government was investigating the veracity of these allegations, hence the delay in delivering the Article 7 report.[7] But in a written response to Landmine Monitor, Lesotho stated that:

Incidences [sic] referred to regarding the disturbances in 1998 as described by a purported LDF member have no basis. The Lesotho Defence Force does not, and has never at anytime kept stock of landmines. What may have been stolen at the time were mere hand-grenades. LDF does not even keep any landmines for training purposes.[8]

Mine Action

A number of antitank mine incidents resulted in four deaths and eleven injuries in the early 1980s when the Lesotho Liberation Army (LLA) was active with the support of the (then) South African government.[9] Lesotho told Landmine Monitor, “Indeed there were victims of limpet mines in the 1980s, but they were as a result of LLA operations launched outside Lesotho. Such weapons belonged to the LLA.”[10]

Today there are no reports of uncleared mines in Lesotho.[11] Lesotho’s Foreign Minister told the FMSP that they are “keenly aware that this scourge does not respect borders and it may not be long before it catches up with us.”[12] The government has not adopted national legislation for persons with disabilities.


[1] Interview with Caleb Sello, Lesotho Defence Force, 13 March 2000. This was confirmed by Lesotho in its written statement. Fax from L. Mosala, Foreign Affairs, Lesotho to Noel Stott, South African/International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Ref. FR/UN/21, 7 July 2000, p. 1.
[2] Statement by Thomas Thabane, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, to the First Meeting of the States Parties to the Ottawa Convention, 3-7 May 1999, pp. 3-4.
[3] Ibid., p. 4.
[4] Ibid., p. 3.
[5] “The rebels claim to have about 2,000 AK-47 rifles, limpet mines and landmines, rocket-propelled grenades, small-calibre rocket launchers, bombs, mortars and anti-aircraft launchers.” See Sechaba Ka’Nkosi, “Inside the Camps of the Lesotho Rebels,” Electronic Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg), 2 October 1998.
[6] Telephone interview with Sechaba Ka’Nkosi, 7 March 2000.
[7] Confidential interview with a representative of the Lesotho Defence Force, 13 March 2000.
[8] Statement by Lesotho to Landmine Monitor, 7 July 2000, p. 1.
[9] See African Contemporary Record, 1981 – 1982, (London: African Publishing Company, 1981); “An Enemy Again,” Lesotho Weekly, 3 December 1982; “Landmine Victim Dies,” Rand Daily Mail (South Africa), 7 December 1982; and M. Morris & T. Combrinck, Use of Explosive Devices in Sabotage and Terrorism in South Africa 1981 – 1986 (Cape Town: Terrorism Research Centre, 1986).
[10] Statement by Lesotho to Landmine Monitor, 7 July 2000, p. 2.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Statement by Foreign Minister Thabane to the FMSP, 3-7 May 1999, p. 3.