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Police brutality intensifies in the rural areas, cops fire teargas, disrupt Ebutfongweni Indvuna’s funeral.

Saturday, 5th June, 2021

BUTFONGWENI: Members of the public in the rural areas continue to experience first hand information on police brutality even during times of grieving, in a latest incident police fired teargas to disrupt the funeral of Ancorn Hlatswako, an Indvuna of Ebutfongweni Chiefdom under Kukhanyeni Inkhundla.
This comes about two weeks after the police fired teargas in Manzini to disrupt the memorial service of Thabani Nkomonye who was allegedly killed by the police, his body was dumped at Nhlambeni.
Ancorn Hlatshwako (64), the Ebutfongweni Indvuna was supposed to be buried at his family’s burial site next to his wife and relatives on Saturday morning, however, a battalion of armed police officers stormed the grave yard and fired teargas stopping the funeral without a court order.
Speaking to this Swaziland News, a family member who preferred to remain anonymous said there was a long standing land dispute between the Nkiliji and Ebutfongweni Chiefdoms. Chief Mkhumbi Dlamini of Nkiliji had allegedly claimed ownership over Ebutfongweni Chiefdom resulting to a dispute over burial sites.
“After a resettlement process, Nkiliji was allocated a burial site, then Chief Mkhumbi also ordered all Ebutfongweni residents to also utilise that burial site. This didn’t sit well with my father who was an indvuna for Ebutfongweni who believed that Chief Mkhumbi intended to take over our Chiefdom which is currently without a chief. My father had always mentioned that he wanted to be buried alongside his wife and relatives but yesterday when we were at the mortuary we learnt that Chief Mkhumbi has been granted an order to stop my father’s burial. After investigations we learnt that there was no court order and proceeded with the funeral. When we arrived at the grave yard we found about 10 police officers who dispersed us by firing a teargas saying they were acting on a court order which they couldn’t even produce, now as a family we have incurred extra costs since the funeral has been postponed\", said the family member.
A questionnaire was sent to Superintendent Phindile Vilakati, the eSwatini Police Spokesperson, however, she had not responded at the time of compiling this report.
Reached for comments,Traditionalist Elliot Mkhatjwa, the Chairman of the Swaziland Democratic Party (SWADEPA) condemned the conduct of the Police and traditional authorities of Nkiliji Chiefdom.
“The police were wrong to stop the funeral without a court order, a person has a right to be buried alongside his/her relatives. Chief Mkhumbi cannot claim ownership over Ebutfongweni without valid documents from Ludzidzini acknowledging that. Since the was no court order, the family should approach the court so that those who disturbed the funeral can be charged. The Manzini King’s liaison officer (Ndabazabantu) and the Regional Administrator should also be taken to task for allowing Chief Mkhumbi to do as he pleases, they need to be reported to the Ludzidzini council for failing to do their jobs. The police are also loose cannons, they need to be called to order, just recently they were disturbing Thabani Nkomonye’s funeral now they are doing this, it’s going to be chaotic once the people start rising against them”,he said.
Effort to seek a comment from Chief Mkhumbi of Nkiliji who allegedly stopped the funeral proved unsuccessful at the time of compiling this report.
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