by Michael Hesemann
The ongoing controversy about a "UFO crash" in Lesotho on September 15, 1995 caused me to visit the country and to investigate the claims made in an alleged South African Airforce Intelligence file and by the researchers involved.
On March 10, 1997 I flew to South Africa. My intention was to get knowledge about the localities, to verify the existence of the alleged witnesses of the event in Lesotho (Peter Lachasa, Sgt. Thobo, Constable Nandi, Abe Lochwela) and to find possible witnesses for the incident, or at least collect local rumors which might have a connection with the event, an alleged UFO crash near Lejone/Lesotho, 8 miles west of the Madibamatso River.
Without a doubt, knowing rural conditions, no cover-up or secrecy could ever prevent local talk and rumors about such an obvious incident. Indeed the "documents" [see CNI News, Jan 1, 1997] mentioned a loud explosion, a fire and an invasion of South African helicopters, all in an extremely remote area in the Lesotho highlands. Furthermore, locals would have to know of a "Peter Lachasa" (allegedly the black farmer on whose land the crash occured); and "Sgt. Thobo" and "Constable Nandi" (allegedly the two Police Officers who saw the crashed disc and informed the officials). I was willing to give the case a chance, and [would regard] even just a verification of the names as evidence [of] at least the possibility of a real event.
These are the results of my field investigation:
1. The alleged fax of the "Department of Defense" of Lesotho to South African Intelligence in Bloemfontein -- as it is reproduced in the alleged documents -- is without any doubt an absurd forgery. Its letterhead names a "Royal Government of Lesotho -- Department of Defense" and shows the flag of the country. Indeed there is no such thing as a "Royal Government" in Lesotho. Although the country is a kingdom, they only use the title "Government of Lesotho." There is no "Department of Defense" (as in the US) but a "Ministry of Defense" (as in the UK). Government letterheads NEVER show the flag, but the country's arms, showing a crocodile. Furthermore, "Abe Lochwela," who signed the "document" is unknown in the Lesotho MoD.
2. "Thobo" and "Nandi," as well as "Lachasa" (actually "Lechesa"), are first names, not family names. A "Sgt. Thobo" or "Constable" Nandi are not known to the Leribe Police Headquarters or the Police Station in Lejone. Neither Leribe Police Chief Major Letunja -- who checked his files after my request -- nor Lejone Station Commander Sgt. William Selli Mosili knew of an incident on the 15th of September, nor did they ever hear of a "Peter Lachasa." The "Occurrence Book" of the Lejone Police Station, which lists all incidents between June 14 and November 30, 1995, doesn't mention the crash or any related event worth noting. The policemen in service on that day (Sept 15, 1995) had the names Lebasa, Rampa, Morojele, Meking and Paryane.
3. After interviewing nearly 30 citizens of Lejone, including the Village Chief, I can say for sure that obviously no one in Lejone had ever heard of a farmer named Peter Lachasa. No one heard any rumors about a mysterious crash in the mountains in the fall of 1995 -- though nearly everyone still remembered a helicopter crash 15 years ago -- and no one heard any explosion in the evening or witnessed a nocturnal helicopter invasion. Since Lejone is the closest village to any area 8 miles west of the Madibamatso River, there is no doubt that any farmer living there would come regularly to Lejone at least once a week to buy his supplies.
Having learned more about the topography of the area in question, I was able to check some details of the alleged "official report" and complete a critical text analysis which proved the absurdity of the crash claims.
According to the "Report," the crash happened "12 kilometres (8 miles) west of the Madibamatso River" in the "Lesotho Foothills." There are no foothills west of the mighty river, but the Maluti Mountains, which reach an altitude of up to 3277 metres (nearly 10,000 feet).
Furthermore, the document claims that "Peter Lachasa" drove to the "Police Department at Leribe," obviously meaning the city, not the province of Leribe of which the crash site Lejone is a part. The document indicates that it took about 50 minutes to go there (at 9:17 pm, "Peter Lachasa" heard a detonation. He went with his friends to the crash site, [and] arrived at 10:20 pm in Leribe). But in reality it takes much longer to drive the 87 kilometres (54 miles) to Leribe, since the only way there is a serpentine road over a mountain pass. Furthermore, I wonder why he didn't just go to the Police Station in Lejone, only 8 miles away.
Another reason to wonder is the quick MoD official "Abe Lochwela," who (allegedly) was contacted "at 00:15 local time" and was able within two minutes to get up (the Lesotho MoD is closed at night), inform his (sleeping) government, get their instructions, write a two-page report and fax it at exactly 00:17 to the South African Airforce Intelligence in Bloemfontein.
Furthermore, the "document" said the South Africans flew in "three Battalions" by helicopter to "arrest/eliminate" everyone who even comes close to the "secured area." Besides the logistic difficulties of flying 600 men by helicopters in the middle of the night, it is rather questionable that too many potential witnesses walk around in the sparsely inhabited Lesotho highlands. Such a helicopter invasion would rather draw attention to the event than prevent its disclosure.
The "Lesotho documents" are not difficult to fake with a common computer software program, a scanner and a cheap color printer. All phone numbers in the "documents" are switchboard numbers and you find them in every South African phonebook. The included map of the crash side was even xeroxed from the common road map atlas you can buy at every gas station in South Africa.
It's rather probable that the source of the Lesotho "documents" is "Kalahari-Crash" bandwagon-jumper and hoaxer James/Judith Helena van Greunen. [see CNI News, Jan 16, 1997.]
I have no reason at all to suspect anything other than a hoax behind the alleged Lesotho Crash documents. For me, the case is closed.
Original file name: CNI - Lesotho UFO
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