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The Lesothan Civil War (properly known as the Basotho Civil War, though the former name is more common) was a roughly decade long civil war in the African nation of Lesotho. Before the war, it had been one of the strongest nations in Africa, though quite isolationist. Following disputes between the government, which had rigged elections for several years, and the democratic opposition, the military took advantage of a breakdown in negotiations to launch a coup d'etat, swiftly seizing much of the nation. Following the coup, the Democratic Alliance declared war on both the government and the military. After several months of fighting, the government succeeded in controlling Maseru but lost control of effectively the entire rest of the nation. The DA (who controlled the lowlands) fought with the military forces, which mostly controlled the highlands.
The war ended after nine years, after an alliance between the DA and the Government managed to force the military out of their last stronghold, in Ficksburg.
After the Maseru Revolution of 1988 threw out the military and restored democracy to Lesotho, the first elections were held, and were to be held once every three years, starting in 1988. The first elections were won by Tom Thabane of the Consolidationist Party, which was mostly controlled by him, over the Liberal Democrats and the Foundationist Party. However, in the next elections - in 1991 and 1994 - many accused the government of rigging the elections, especially after the Liberal Democrats were barred for running in the latter. With the aid of the smaller Foundationist Party, the Liberal Democrats founded the Democratic Alliance in early 1995, demanding that Thabane step down and allow free elections. Thabane refused, and negotiations broke down.
Ntsu Mokhehle united the various factions of the DA, and went to the negotiation table once more in July, warning Thabane that if negotiations fell through again, the result would be civil war. Thabane, however, refused to even start talks this time, and called for the military to arrest Mokhehle and other leaders on August 1st. The result was widespread protests in the street, which started turning violent. One day after the call for arrests, a company of soldiers went to arrest Mokhehle, only to be fired upon by other members of the military loyal to the Democrats. Thabane declared the DA to be an illegal terrorist outfit, and threatened to arrest key members of the military if they did not exterminate the organization.
The head of the army, Major General Justin Metsing Lekhanya, responded by ordering the arrest of Thabane on the 5th of August, and declared the military's support for Mokhehle. The Defense Minister, however, brought Military Police to the army headquarters and ordered the arrest of Lekhanya. After some fighting in the building, the MPs were publicly executed on top of the building by forces loyal to the Democratic Alliance. Military forces throughout the city - and the country - were effectively paralyzed as conflicting orders came from the civilian government and the army high command.
However, at the same time, other officers under Major General Elias Rameama had been planning a coup, to take over the government, and struck swiftly at their first target, a major military armory in the town of Mazenod, moved there following the Maseru Rebellion of 1988.
The War Starts: Battle of Mazenod
As the rest of the country was paralyzed by the events in Maseru, the officers under Major General Rameama were ready, and swung into action in early morning, August 6th, 1955, the official start date of the war.
Swiftly attacking and seizing one of the military's main armouries, outside Mazenod, they used the weaponry to quickly arm a large number of conscripts, and seized the city of Mazenod, declaring Thabane to be illegitimate, as well as Mokhehle and the army HQ. Thabane responded by declaring the entire army high command under arrest and sent in MPs to arrest him. The DA sent a small militia in, based in that area.
The army had secured the city, and mainly controlled the streets. The MPs were caught by surprise by the entire attack, and by the time of Thabane's announcement, had mostly been neutralized.The Militia, on the other hand, was ready, and attempted a counter, attacking the army barracks at dawn, killing several soldiers but eventually being driven back.
By this point, more forces loyal to the DA arrived, and attempted an attack on the city itself. After brutal fighting, they managed to secure a beachhead within the city, aided by ordinary citizens, who attempted a protest in the north of the city while the DA attacked the west. The army dispersed the protest by firing into the crowd with first rubber bullets, then actual rounds and mortars. However, they were forced to withdraw forces from the DA attack, and the DA pushed in further.
By evening, however, the army's control of the armoury came into its own, as they were able to deploy heavy artillery against the poorly armed DA militias. After several hours of fighting, the DA were pushed back, out of the city, and forced to retreat. By the 7th of August, the army had fully secured the city.
The First Battle of Maseru
Simultaneously as the forces of coup took over Mazenod, events were rapidly unfolding in Maseru. Following Rameama's declaration, Thabane declared the nation to be in a state of Civil War and denounced both the DA and the military to be traitors.
At the same time, the army was in uproar as factions loyal to the government, the Democrats, and the coup all fought each other.
In Lekhanya's HQ, the situation had devolved into outright fighting between the cabal behind the coup, the Consolisationist government, and the Democrats. However, Rameama had penetrated deep into the army, and after three hours of fighting, Lekhanya was publicly executed on the roof. From that point on, the cabal was entirely in control of the military. However, several groups within the military defected to the DA.
The result was six days of fighting, which finally resulted in King Letsie III being evacuated to a residence near the town of Tosing, far from the fighting, and the government using paramilitary forces to secure the city. However, as the DA and military forces left the city, they quickly began raising large armies in the rest of Lesotho. The period between the end of First Maseru, in November 4th, 1995, to October 29th, 1996, was known as the "Year of Peace", as apart from minor skirmishes the three armies stayed far away from each other while building up their armies and resources.
The Battle of Three ArmiesThree Armies was the first truly large battle in the Lesothan Civil War, taking place a year after the war's start. It took place at the city of Tau, which was (nominally) under government control. However, the DA had sneaked several sleeper units into the city, and, on October 29th, struck in a series of attacks designed to paralyze government forces and allow the easy DA takeover of Tau. However, the attacks were botched, and a large part of the government forces in the city survived intact. The result was that the approaching DA army was met with heavy resistance. Three more days of fighting resulted in a deadlock in the city, with DA forces slowly but steadily pushing out Consolidationist forces. However, on November 3rd, the military saw this as an excellent chance to win a quick victory, and surrounded the city, cutting off supplies to both armies, who, outnumbered, running out of ammunition and food, and now trapped, were forced to endure massive artillery barrages for four days. On November 7th, however, DA leaders met with the commander of the Consolidationist forces within the city. Agreeing to a temporary ceasefire within the city, the two gathered their forces, and attacked to the North and West of the city simultaneously. However, the attack to the North was in fact a diversion, and the result was that military lines were shattered. Although the ceasefire to break out had included retreating safely, the DA forces then quickly struck the government forces unexpectedly, killing hundreds and forcing them back into the war-torn city as the army regrouped and took said city.
The resulting three-way battle lasted until January 3rd, 1997, when heavy snows forced the military to pull back, and the DA was finally defeated outside. It would later become known as the Battle of Three Armies.
The Military Strikes Back: First Mafeteng, Toloane, and RomaThe spring of 1997 was marked by a series of massive strikes by the military, designed to vast swaths of land controlled by the DA and the Consolidationist government (which by now only controlled a few cities, and could no longer be considered a governing force over Lesotho). Led mainly by Rameama, the military first consolidated its new HQ in Semonkong, then swiftly struck, overrunning DA troops in Sikaki and Qachas Nek. The DA attempted a counterattack, but this was marred by infighting between the various DA militias, and the result was that the DA stronghold of Thaba-Tseke fell almost without a fight, as one of the militias there defected to the military and the rest were forced to retreat. By early May, the army had taken and fortified most of South-Western Lesotho, and begun a series of strikes towards Mafetang, a major DA stronghold. It was widely believed that the fall of Mafetang would result in the DA collapsing. The DA practiced a scorched-Earth policy in reponse, putting Motanyane to the torch and mining the road between Motanyane and Thabatsoeu. Although they had the ability to move directly to Mafetang, fearful of being surrounded by DA forces, the army chose to take a long march towards Toloane, where the DA had set up a massive defensive force, with thousands of soldiers, and was prepared to withstand a massive attack from military forces.
The Battle of Toloane began on May 14th, when military forces attempted to push DA forces out of cover with a heavy artillery barrage. However, the DA forces were well dug in and took minimal casualties in this attack. The military then set in a wave of armor, backed up with infantry. After fierce fighting, the DA forces retreated to safer positions within the city. At this point, however, for unknown reasons, the commander of the DA forces within the city decided to marshal his forces towards the east of the city; it is thought that he was attempting to break out of the military siege, despite the fact that he was well supplied and had been given strict instructions to hold the city. The military capitalized on this, moving in quickly and seizing high ground to the North of the city, and then using heavy artillery barrages to keep the DA forces pinned down. Despite the fact that they could have still fought back, at this point, the command of the forces surrendered to the military, and the DA forces in the city, trapped and with no command, either followed their example or were wiped out in the resultant fighting.
The setback, as well as disagreements in the DA leadership, led to extremely poor morale at Mafetang. However, as the military approached, the DA high command unexpectedly gave power over the forces within the city to Ntsu Mokhehle, a minor leader noted for his small successes in leading a contingent of DA forces out of Toloane despite the collapse of the command there. Well liked by the soldiers and known for his refusal to surrender, he managed, after two hours of debate, to get the HQ to temporarily grant him control.As the military approached, therefore, rather than facing a badly led, terrified militia who were ready to flee facing them, they found themselves facing a well organized, prepared army dug in to their positions and ready to face the military. However, this was unknown to Rameama, who, believing that the militias would flee soon, started with a large artillery barrage lasting several hours. Although the DA forces were dug in, they still took a few casualties in this, but still stood at their positions. Rameama, still believing the DA militias were on the breaking point, now ordered a charge to attack the city directly. This would prove to be the biggest blunder of the war, as the military forces were cut to pieces by the calm, prepared forces under Mokhehle. Meanwhile, a contingent of the DA forces had moved out around the military forces and attacked them from behind. The military forces found themselves trapped, and were forced to quickly retreat, their army still intact, but, with reinforcements from Sekameng arriving, now permanently unable to take Mafetang.
Taking advantage of the military's setback, the forces loyal to Thabane's Consolidationist government launched an attack on the city of Roma, taking the lightly defended city with 6000 soldiers in a three-day battle in June.
Stalemate: Mkhomazi, Sekameng, Hlotse, Mokhotlong, and Second MaseruWith the military now controlling most of Lesotho, but their attack on Mafetang stalled, Rameama made the decision to focus on the Consolidationist forces in Maseru. On November 16th, 1997, the military began the Quick March, marshaling over 60,000 troops - nearly two-thirds of their full strength, counting all their conscripts - in the mountains near Maseru and prepared for an attack on the city, defended by just 10,500 troops loyal to the government. With the attack expected to take place on November 20th, Thabane was forced to act quickly, and did so. Using the 20,000 troops outside of the city loyal to him, he quickly launched "wagon-wheel" attacks at the military controlled cities around him, leaving just 2500 soldiers to defend the city proper. The military were struck from multiple directions from within the city, causing the poorly-trained conscripts to believe that in fact they were outnumbered by the defenders of Maseru.
While the military was in confusion, the government struck swiftly, seizing Mkhomazi and Hlotse, two major military bases, in consecutive battles on November 23rd, 24th, and 25th. After an abortive assault, the military forces pulled back. The general in charge of the forces attacking Maseru, confused by conflicting reports of his enemy's troop size and startled by his supply lines being cut by government seizure of Hlotse, retreated against the direct orders of Rameama to attack. Furious, Rameama marched up north with his personal guard of 1000 soldiers, took control of the army, and had the general executed, despite his popularity with the conscripts. Continuing, he attempted to renew his offensive on Maseru with 20,000 of the 60,000 troops (the rest being sent to defend against the government forces which were swiftly attacking military bases) and on December 4th, attacked the city, still defended by its garrison. However, brutal fighting and a DA attack on his rear forced him to pull back on January 7th, 1998. Rameama decided to retreat back to the military's strongholds to regroup, leaving just the DA and the government to fight, which they did.Seeing his success on attacking military strongholds, Thabane attempted to attack the DA military base at Sekameng, which had saved the DA from the fall of Mafetang. However, unlike the government forces at Hlotse and Mkhomazi, Sekamang was well defended by DA troops, and the attack proved to be a catastrophe for the government, losing almost 1/5 of the attacking force, almost 3000 troops.
The DA successfully countered at Mokhotlong, ending any attempts by the government to advance farther into Lesotho.
The result was that by 1999, the three sides had partitioned Lesotho, with the Government holding several cities, but with limited support, with the military holding a significant quantity of land in the Highlands, but with almost no cities, and the DA holding most of the countryside in the lowlands, as well as several cities. The stalemate would continue for over a year before fighting renewed, as the various sides attempted to rebuild their armies for renewed offensives.
During this period, the question of who the legitimate government in Lesotho began to rise outside the nation. While until now most of the world had accepted the Consolidationist government, in early 2000, the ANZC, the SAC, and the Celtic Union (along with most of the ADC, except Canada) declared their support for the DA. However, Socialist Siberia sided with the military, as did many other African nations. Many of Lesotho's neighbors chose to support the military simply because they felt it was the strongest power and would pull Lesotho out of the civil war fastest. This contributed to Lesotho's isolationism after the war, as after the military lost, relations with many of their neighbors remained frosty.
A few nations- such as Canada- continued their stance that the Consolidationist government was the legitimate government.
Democrat-Consolidationist Alliance and the Guard's Stand at Tosing
By late 2000, it became clear that without a sudden change in the situation in Lesotho, the civil war would last for an indefinite time; every time one side attempted to go on the offensive, the other two would immediately attack. As a result, going into 2001, the leaders of the DA and the remains of the Consolidationist government began to form an alliance against the military. On August 4th, 2001, the DA and the Consolidationists signed the Treaty of Mafeteng, in which the Consolidationists and the DA agreed to fight together against the military, and to hold free elections upon the fall of the military. The agreement included full amnesty for Thabane and his administration.
Three days later, King Letsie III, who had been hiding out in the mountains of the south to avoid being targeted by any of the three factions, declared that the legitimate government of Lesotho to be the DA-Consolidationist alliance, and claimed the military was the usurpers (he had always tacitly backed the DA).
As a result, the military, now caught in the middle, attempted to go after the King himself, and attacked his palace, at a mountain near the village of Tosing.
Tosing had been chosen as the King's defensive position, as it was high in the mountains, and would be easily defended by a proper army. However, the only soldiers left to defend the town were the Royal Guard of some 50 men. The DA/Consolidationist alliance attempted to reach the town quickly, the aid the king, but were waylaid by military units on their way, and the military laid siege to the town- and the palace- before they were even close.
The Guard's first action was to retreat up to the palace, and to block all passages up to there save for one. Though well armed and well trained, they were outnumbered around 300 to one, and had no choice but to try to hold out until the DA and Consolidationist forces managed to reach Tosing.
At dawn, on August 12th, the military launched a massive attack, supported by artillery, on the Guard's position, hoping to force the tiny contingent to surrender. They had previously announced that even if they captured the King, they would not harm him, and did in fact intend to honor that pledge; however, this was not widely believed at the time. As a result, the Guard- all of whom had promised to fight to the death to protect the King- refused to surrender, and easily fought off the initial wave of military conscripts who attacked.
Outside Tosing, however, rivalry between the DA and the Consolidationists, combined with heavy resistance from Rameama's soldiers, brought the Allied advance to a halt. Many in the Consolidationist forces felt that by allowing the King to die, they would gain a powerful martyr to their cause. Furthermore, they felt that the Allied forces would be better put to effect by attacking the military's strongholds.
Meanwhile, on August 17th, the military breached the initial defenses of the Royal Guard. The remaining 37 members of the guard quickly retreated to other positions, having inflicted heavy casualties on the military (approximately 4000 of the initial 4500 soldiers were left). The military continued their push, and by the 22nd, with no help in sight, the Guard was down to 29 men, with the fortress breached in a few areas, and still 1500 military soldiers attacking (1500 soldiers had been drawn off to resist the slowly advancing Allied forces, and the remainder, mostly conscripts, had been killed). However, at that point, a small DA fire team broke through military lines, and claimed that due to the heavy resistance, the Allied forces would be forced to fall back; the team was told to exfiltrate the King only, as a larger party would be seen by the military forces. The King refused exfiltration without his soldiers; in response, one of the Guardsmen knocked him out with his rifle butt and loaded him into the waiting Jeep.
The Guard held out until the 3rd of September, when the remaining four Guardsmen, out of both ammunition and food, charged against the machine guns of the military with bayonets. None survived.
The King later commented that "The stand of the Guard at Tosing will one day be remembered alongside the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava or the 300 at Thermopylae."
The Tide Turns: Second Mafeteng, First Foso, and Cutting Camp
With the DA-Consolidationist forces now united, the military was forced on the retreat. By Early 2002, the military had lost a series of battles around Maseru, and was now steadily being pushed back towards their main base at Ficksburg. Sporadic battles continued throughout the year, with the military on a steady retreat into the Highlands.
In early August of 2003, however, the military struck back with Operation: Furious Moon. After the DA-Consolidationist alliance, the main focus of the Allied top brass moved to Mafetang; it was further from the main military operations, and the DA was the dominant partner in the Alliance. As a result, Mafeteng was the focus of the military's attack in Furious Moon. After going around Maseru, the military forces- around 50,000 of them- went through Tosing to attack Mafeteng from the North, which was completely unexpected by the DA.
The armies met in a suburb just to the north of Mafeteng, and the Allies were heavily outnumbered. With most of their forces around Maseru, and the garrison based out of the south of the city, for 3 hours, just 1,500 soldiers were forced to defend against around 40,000. The battle, predictably, went to the military. The garrison at Mafeteng rushed up north, but too late; the government, including Thabane, was captured, before the military was forced to retreat.
The military, morale high after the capture of Thabane, now moved in on the city of Foso, a major Consolidationist arsenal, hoping to end the alliance between the DA and the government. At the city, nearly 35,000 military forces faced off against a smaller Allied force of just 20,000. However, the Allies possessed the high ground, and fierce fighting ensued over the next day and a half, resulting in nearly 7,000 casualties form both sides, with military conscripts bearing the brunt of the death toll. However, the military succeeded ingaining a foothold, and through the next 84 hours of fierce urban warfare, managed to surround the Allies in the main square of the town, with 20,000 military troops against just 9,000 Allied. The military began to push in, taking severe casualties, but the allies refused to surrender, until the commander was killed, 8 days after the start of the battle. Finally, the remaining 1,200 Allied troops surrendered to a military force of just 8,000.
Following the brutal losses of the First Battle of Foso- the second-bloodiest battle of the war (ironically, the first was the second battle)-the military's strength was completely broken, and the Allies moved in to finally shut down the military apparatus, and finish off Furious Moon, at the military controlled city of Cutting Camp. While it had little strategic benefit, it was lightly defended- and, furthermore, the location of Tom Thabane and his government, In a swift, brutal attack, the DA forces overran the defenders with light casualties, heading straight for the prison, where they knew the prisoners would be executed soon. Unfortunately, they were just slightly too late- the prison fell just minutes after Thabane was shot dead by the warden of the jail.
With Thabane dead, a major split now erupted in the Consolidationists between the majority who wished to join the DA and those who wished to split off once again.
Final Phases: Third Maseru, Second Foso and Teyateyaneng
With Furious Moon crushed, the Allied forces swiftly began attacking the military bases. First to fall was Maseru, where 2,000 military troops were garrisoned to fight nearly 10,000 Allied troops. After 6 days of light skirmishing between the forces, the military troops staged a mutiny, killed their commander, and surrendered to Allied forces. With the Allies now in control of Maseru, morale dropped throughout the nation, leading to mass surrenders at several points, including at Hlotse and Tosing. The Allied troops now marched on the large remainder of the military forces- nearly 50,000 troops stationed at Foso, the last desperate attempt of the military to throw back the Allies.
In response, the Allied forces marched in with nearly 65,000 troops in January of 2004. The troops were split into 5 Army Groups: Alpha, which attacked from the North-East; Bravo, which attacked from the East; Charlie, which attacked from the South; Delta, which attacked from the South-West; and Echo, which attacked from the West.
The military, which possessed the high ground, met all 5 attacks, albeit with fewer troops in each occasion. However, the Allied troops were backed up by tanks and heavy artillery, whereas all the military possessed in great quantity was light artillery. They had run out of ammunition for their heavier weapons trying to break out of the city, and now were forced to take shelter under brutal artillery while fighting off infantry charges from Allied troops. For nearly 6 days, the military held out, fighting in close quarters combat, occasionally even in hand-to-hand, to push back the onslaught of the DA troops. However, on January 16th, 6 days after the sart of the battle, the head of the military forces in the city was mortally wounded by artillery fire targeted at his base. He died just over a day later, leaving a split in the leadership. Half wanted to launch a charge and break out of the city, giving it up as a lost cause, while the others felt that it was still possible to hold the city. After much argument, the city erupted in a miniature civil war, which led to 20,000 of the 45,000 remaining troops leaving the city, via Army Group Charlie, in a brutal charge. Charging with little armor against machine guns and artillery- albeit supported by mortars and machine guns of their own- the military deserters took casualties of almost 50% before hitting the DA lines, but once there, they proceeded to wreak havoc. Charlie was left in ruins, and nearly 10,000 military troops escaped the city and fled towards Ficksburg.
The remainder of the troops, however, were now more heavily outnumbered, and were unable to properly defend the city. Alpha was the first group to break through military lines, and by January 20th, half the city was in DA hands. Finally, with just 11,000 troops left, the military forces, trapped in an area of just a few blocks in the center of town, surrendered. The victory was hailed as a beginning of the end of the war; the military forces were effectively finished, with just around 20,000 left across the nation (mostly conscripts), while there were still nearly 80,000 active Allied soldiers. Both sides had heavy desertation rates, but it was especially large in the military side, where some 40,000 soldiers deserted over the course of the war.
At the same time, however, the Consolidationist split had led to fighting between the renegades and the Allied forces, which was fought throughout the North until finally, at the battle of Teyateyaneng, the insurgency was put down by a superior Allied force, and the leader of the renegades executed. In the process, however, heavy artillery strikes by the Allied forces laid waste to large parts of the town.
The War Ends: Ficksburg
Finally, with nearly 70,000 troops, the Allies converged on the last major military base, where 20,000 military soldiers were defending- the town of Ficksburg. Before Doomsday, Ficksburg had not been part of Lesotho; however, after the collapse of South Africa, Lesotho had effectively stepped in, and after the start of the war, it was the center of military control. Rameama had used the town as a headquarters from 1997 through to the very end of the war. The battle started on August 23rd, 2004.
The Allied troops began with a heavy armored assault on the city, arranged in waves, starting with the heaviest armor, supported by infantry and light aircraft. All the time, artillery rained fire down on the town. However, the military were more than prepared, and dispatched the first waves without difficulty, luring them into columns and then hitting with anti-tank weapons and mines, as well as their own heavy artillery. Similar fighting continued over the next 3 days, with the Allies taking heavy casualties without any real gain. On the fourth day of fighting, however, the Allied forces began a fierce shelling of the town's eastern side, then abruptly stopped about midday. The military, expecting a major attack on the east, sent in an extra 3,500 troops to reinforce the positions there. However, the attack actually came from the North-West, now the weakest point of the defenses, and at a severe cost, the Allies managed to grab a foothold. The military, desperate, launched an all out attack on the breach for 2 days, but when the smoke cleared, despite a 50% casualty rate for the Allied troops defending the breach, the breach remained in Allied hands, and they began to push through the military forces, who fought tooth and nail over every last inch, to the point where a prominent DA general noted that if the military had just another 10,000 men, they would have won the battle right there.
However, low on men and morale, the remaining military forces slowly retreated through the town, launching surprise attacks on the Allies and performing impressive last stands. By the 1st of September, massive splits were evident among the top command of the military, with Rameama and his hardliners willing to die rather than surrender, and the more moderate general looking to end the destructive conflict. At a General Staff meeting at the military HQ, a heated discussion eventually resulted in two senior officers defecting to the DA, at which point the moderates announced the situation to be untenable, and demanded that every soldier loyal to the military follow their orders rather than Rameama. Approximately two thirds actually did so. For a short while, this led to a three-way battle on the front lines, as the moderates, hardliners, and allied troops fought over key positions. On the night of September 3rd, the moderates launched an attack on the military HQ, and fought their way to Rameama, who shot himself moments before he could be captured. 3 hours later, at 1:35 AM, September 4th, 2004, the military surrendered unconditionally to the Allied forces.
Following the surrender, the Allied forces swiftly took control over all the minor military outposts left, most of which surrendered immediately on learning of the fall of Ficksburg. A few hardliners escaped Ficksburg, and would keep fighting an insurgency in the mountains until 2006, when they were finally found and killed. Ntsu Mokhele was elected Prime Minister with 73% of the vote, a result that was supported by incredulous observers from the LoN and the ANZC. He formed a Cabinet composed of all three factions, with several moderate former Generals next to the DA and Consolidationists. One of them- Morena Makhaola, his Minister of the Interior, and the current Prime Minister- would later succeed him. In the aftermath of the war, several nations- including the ANZC and three members of the SAC- promised large amounts of developmental aid to help fix the infrastructure damage caused by the war.
The war left lasting scars on Lesotho. Nearly 5% of the population was killed, and thousands more injured. The nine year civil war led to a complete breakdown of law and order in many regions, some of which are still barely under government control, It also led to a deep and lasting mistrust of the military. Even today, over a decade after the brutal war, the military are kept under tight control, with civilian overseers at every step. Mokhele disbanded the DA on March 7th, 2008, running instead with the Liberal Democrats, who won the election again. A third party- the Socialists- would be founded by his successor, Makhaola, after his death in 2009 of pancreatic cancer.