Soldiers in Swaziland ambushed a truck and riddled it with bullets, killing the occupant, because it would not stop when requested.
The dead man ‘had his skull and chest split open’, according to a local media report.
This was one of a long line of army killings which have prompted accusations that King Mswati III, the absolute monarch in Swaziland, runs a military state.
The latest incident on Friday (6 November 2015) happened on the border between Swaziland and South Africa, near Mankayane.
According to the Times Sunday newspaper in Swaziland soldiers spotted a white South African registered truck ‘being smuggled through a cut fence’ in the borderline at Dwalile area, outside Mankayane.
The newspaper reported, ‘The soldiers are said to have first signalled for the truck to stop but the driver ignored their instructions, prompting them to open fire.
‘The truck did not stop and the army personnel alerted their colleagues from another base to be on the lookout for a white truck that was approaching their direction.
‘Upon receiving the message, the soldiers are said to have waited in ambush for the truck.
‘When they also failed to force the driver to stop, the army personnel sprayed the truck with bullets, some of which are said to have blasted his skull, splitting it open in the process.
‘Other bullets are said to have landed in different areas in the body, including the feet and also leaving another gash wound in the man’s chest.
‘The man died on the spot, possibly from the serious nature of the injuries sustained.’
In October 2015, soldiers put 16 bullets into a man and killed him because he would not stop his car at a road check. The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, reported 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.
This incident came 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.
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.
In April 2013, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) condemned Swaziland police and state security forces for their ‘increasingly violent and abusive behaviour’ that is leading to the ‘militarization’ of the kingdom.
In a report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) meeting in The Gambia, OSISA said, ‘There are also reliable reports of a general militarization of the country through the deployment of the Swazi army, police and correctional services to clamp down on any peaceful protest action by labour or civil society organisations ahead of the country’s undemocratic elections.’
SWAZILAND ‘BECOMING MILITARY STATE’