Friday, October 16, 2015


Soldiers in Swaziland put 16 bullets into a man and killed him because he would not stop his car at a road check.

This was the latest in a long line of incidents that show the kingdom’s army is out of control and also enforces a shoot-first-ask-questions-later policy.

The army in Swaziland is known as the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) and has King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, as its chief.

The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, reported on Friday (16 October 2015) that the soldiers, ‘found themselves with no option but to open fire when a Toyota Tazz bearing foreign registration numbers was smuggled into the kingdom with the occupants failing to stop when ordered to do so’.

It added, ‘A total of 16 bullet wounds were found on the deceased’s body which the army riddled through at him as he tried to escape.’

The shooting occurred at Gege. There were two occupants in the vehicle believed to have been stolen from around Piet-Retief. The driver was killed on the spot while his colleague who also got shot managed to flee with several bullet wounds, according to the Observer

The newspaper added, ‘Army mouthpiece Madoda Mkhatshwa said the soldiers tried to stop the car but the driver ignored them even after firing warning shots.’

This incident comes less than two weeks or so after soldiers also gunned down another suspected car smuggler near Mshololo not far from Zombodze Emuva. 

In July 2015 it was reported by Titus Thwala a member of the Swazi parliament that Swaziland soldiers beat up old ladies so badly they had to be taken to their homes in wheelbarrows. They were among the local residents who were regularly beaten by soldiers at informal crossing points between Swaziland and South Africa.

This was not the first time soldiers in Swaziland have been accused of beating and torturing people. A man was reportedly beaten with guns and tortured for three hours by soldiers who accused him of showing them disrespect.

Soldiers have been out of control in the kingdom for a very long time. In January 2010 they were warned by the Swaziland Human Rights and Public Administration Commission that their attacks on civilians amounted to a ‘shoot to kill’ policy and this was unconstitutional. 

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