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Eighteen high ranking military officials in southern Africa's tiny mountain kingdom of Lesotho have been arrested and jailed in an unsuccessful coup attempt, diplomats said Saturday.

The officers attempted Friday to lock up colleagues who had themselves ousted military ruler Maj. Gen. Justin Lekhanya in a bloodless coup April 30.But they were apprehended before they could complete their counter-coup, diplomats in the capital Maseru said.

"It was a non-violent confrontation resolved by discussions yesterday evening and there have been no changes at all to the government," said Britain's deputy high commissioner in Maseru, Peter Butcher, speaking by telephone to United Press International in Johannesburg.

He said the majority of people in Lesotho were unaware that the confrontation had even taken place.