SITHOBELWENI: King Mswati allegedly deployed armed soldiers at Sithobelweni on Friday to shoot innocent civilians and stop a protest against the grabbing of national resources including Tibiyo TakaNgwane and Maloma Mine.
Mswati is the Commander-in Chief of the Umbutfo Eswatini Defense Force(UEDF) and the authority to issue orders and deploy soldiers vests with him.
The soldiers allegedly arrived in the morning at Sithobelweni driven in a disguised car from the Eswatini Institute of Management and Public Administration(SIMPA), the vehicle had its registration numbers removed as part of destroying evidence after the intended shooting.
Citizens in eSwatini face death, torture and harassment for merely protesting and the Human Rights Commission released a preliminary report suggesting that forty-six(46) civilians have been killed since the political unrest started.
But leaders of political parties and the civil society allege that they have evidence substantiating that over one hundred(100) people were killed by Mswati’s forces while over seventy(70) have been identified.
Speaking to this Swaziland News, Lucky Ntuli, who was part of the protest said they were surprised to see heavily armed soldiers arriving in a SIMPA car.
“Heavily armed soldiers arrived driven in a SIMPA car just when we were about to start the protest”, he said.
Residents of Sithobelweni, a rural area situated in the Eastern parts of eSwatini had organized a protest to demand among others, the nationalization of Tibiyo TakaNgwane, the release of incarcerated pro-democracy Members of Parliament(MPs) Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube, scholarships for all and quality health care.
The residents are also demanding democracy and the paving of all main roads and they had intended to deliver a petition to Mswati’s government through their Member of Parliament(MP) Bhekitje Dlamini.
But when reached for comments, Sithobelweni MP Bhekitje Dlamini said no one notified him that soldiers would be deployed at his Constituency and that there would be a protest.
“I didn’t receive any notification that soldiers would be deployed eNkhundleni and I am not even aware of the protest you are talking about”, said MP.
It is not clear how the MP claimed not to be aware of the presence of soldiers and the protest that was manifesting within his Constituency.
Tengetile Khumalo, the Army Spokesperson had not responded at the time of compiling this report.
Reached for comments, Wandile Dludlu, the Secretary General of the People’s United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO) said as an organization they were keeping records of organizations and individuals who were aiding Mswati’s regime. He was reacting to the reports suggesting that a car from SIMPA was used to transport heavily armed soldiers to Sithobelweni to shoot civilians during a protest.
“We are keeping records of organizations and individuals who are aiding this regime”, he said.
Efforts to reach SIMPA Management proved unsuccessful at the compiling this report.
Eswatini is in the midst of a political unrest, citizens are demanding democratic reforms among others, Mswati has been responding by unleashing soldiers to shoot and kill civilians.
Soldiers arrived driven in a SIMPA car.