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Lesotho: Lesotho Red Cross aiding victims of violence

01-10-1998 News Release 98/39

Following the recent outbreak of violence in Lesotho and subsequent military intervention by South Africa and Botswana on 22 September, the Lesotho Red Cross Society swung into action to meet urgent needs. First-aid workers treated the injured and took some 60 people to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The Society also took hospital staff from their homes to work in vehicles protected by the red cross emblem.

An ICRC delegate based in neighbouring South Africa promptly went to Lesotho's capital, Maseru. In accordance with its mandate, the ICRC requested and was granted access to persons detained in connection with the violence. Some 151 people held by the South African and Botswana armed forces and by Lesotho security forces have so far been visited by the ICRC, which forwarded 57 private messages ( " Red Cross messages " ) from them to their families. The majority of those detained were subsequently released. The ICRC continues to monitor the situation along with the Lesotho Red Cross in order to take further action if necessary.