Friday, June 15, 2012


Swaziland soldiers sprayed the house of the kingdom’s main opposition leader with bullets in what prodemocracy activist believe was a planned attack.

The home of Mario Masuku, President of the banned People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), at Makhosini near Nhlangano was hit by bullets fired by members of the kingdom’s army, known as the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force.

The bullets riddled the structures but members of Masuku’s family who were inside at the time were not injured. Masuku himself was not at home.

Masuku’s home is situated over 200-300 metres away from a road, but the local Swazi media say the house was reportedly hit by accident. Soldiers were said to have been chasing and firing at car smugglers.

Zakhele Mabuza, spokesperson for PUDEMO, said, ‘We don’t want to believe this was a mistake but it was something done deliberately and those who did this had a motive.’

The Army told the Times of Swaziland it had no record of the incident, but Swazi police confirmed receiving a complaint about the incident.

Masuku has been a target of the Swazi government in the past. In September 2009 he was found innocent of making statements at a rally to incite people to terrorism by the Swaziland High Court after spending 10 months in jail on remand. The court threw out the case in a matter of hours, saying there was no case to answer.

PUDEMO and all other political parties and most opposition groups are banned in Swaziland, where King Mswati III rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

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