Tuesday, May 18, 2010


There are fears for the safety of a Swaziland student leader after he was last seen being chased by police at the funeral service of Sipho Jele on Sunday (16 May 2010) and has been missing ever since.

The Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) reports that Pius Vilakati, the University of Swaziland Student Representative Council (SRC) President and a member of SNUS, did not show up for his exams at the university yesterday.

According to the Times Sunday, an independent newspaper in Swaziland Vilakati was being hunted by Swazi police because of statements he made during the memorial service of the late PUDEMO member and democracy activist, Jele.

However, on Saturday, at the memorial service, he was able to outsmart the police by hiding in the car carrying the casket and running away to Ncabaneni where the funeral was to be held.

However, when police came to halt the funeral, Vilakati was forced to go into hiding as police made it known that they wanted him.

The SNUS said, ‘It is common knowledge that the state has been on a clampdown on all democracy activists in the country particularly those that the state views to be ideologically and otherwise aligned to Swaziland liberation movement, PUDEMO.

‘We are alarmed that immediately after the heavy police presence at Jele’s funeral and their threat that they wanted Vilakati dead or alive, we suddenly did not see him on Monday to write his exams. His roommates, his friends and some of his family members do not know of his whereabouts.’

SNUS says it is worried about his safety and whereabouts.

‘We have reasons to believe that the police captured him and is within their custody. We now have reasons to believe that anyone under police captivity is no longer safe hence our fears about Pius’s whereabouts.’

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