Soldiers in Swaziland have once again been accused of sexually assaulting women at the kingdom’s border posts.
The latest accusation also says they are charging people to cross at informal border crossings into South Africa.
The Observer on Saturday reported (9 December 2017), ‘The army troops have been accused by women of abusing their powers by touching them inappropriately as they lay their hands on their buttocks just to allow to cross either to South Africa or into Swaziland.
‘Some women when being searched for illegal goods alleged that they are touched almost everywhere by the male army officers and these informal crossings.’
The newspaper said the inappropriate behaviour takes place ‘almost every day’ around the Ngwenya informal crossing.
A spokesperson for the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (the official name for the Swaziland army) denied the allegations.
This was the latest in a number of recent reports of Army misbehaviour at borders.
In July 2017 soldiers reportedly forced a bus-load of passengers to strip naked after it crossed the Mhlumeni Border Gate into Mozambique. Local media reported it happens all the time.
The Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, reported they were ordered to strip ‘stark naked’ as part of a ‘routine body search’. The newspaper said the passengers had been on vacation in Mozambique.
In June 2017 it was reported women at the informal crossing situated next to the Mananga Border Gate with South Africa were made to remove their underwear so soldiers could inspect their private parts with a mirror. The Swazi Army said it happened all the time.
Soldiers were said to be searching for ‘illegal objects’ using a mirror similar to that used to inspect the underside of cars.
Once the practice became public knowledge, the Army said it would continue to strip people and if people did not like it they should stop crossing the border.
ARMY STRIPS BUS PASSENGERS NAKED
SOLDIERS INSPECT WOMAN’S PRIVATE PARTS
ARMY UNREPENTANT ON STRIP SEARCH