Murders in Swaziland are on the rise and cases of armed robberies and sexual violence are being reported ‘with a disturbing level of frequency and regularity’, the kingdom’s police commissioner said on Wednesday (30 May 2018).
On average 61 women were reported raped each month and there were 180 aggravated murders since January 2017 (an average of 10 per month), Isaac Magagula told a crime prevention awareness campaign at Nkhaba.
Magagula also said 227 armed robberies were reported in the same period.
His comments came on the same day that separately the United States in its in Swaziland labelled Mbabane, the capital city, a ‘critical-threat location’.
Magagula said, ‘At this Campaign, we must state that murder cases are on the rise with cases of aggravated murders, armed robberies and sexual violence being reported with a disturbing level of frequency and regularity.’
He added that the majority of murders occurred in drinking spots and bars.
The (31 May 2018), ‘He said the police service will be robust in conducting raids and ensuring that illegal drinking spots are closed and that bars operate within the parameters of their licenses.’
The Police Commissioner spoke about that had taken place in Swaziland in the run-up to this year’s national election. People reportedly have been killed so their body parts can be used in ‘muti’ to bring good luck.
The Observer reported, ‘He said since 2017 to-date five cases that can be associated with this belief have been recorded with the most shocking incident being the one that unravelled at Mafutseni over the weekend, where a 16-year-old boy had his throat slit in a suspected ritual murder attempt.’
The on Thursday (31 May 2018) Magagula stated that there were 1,046 rape cases reported in the past 17 months.
It added, ‘The national commissioner stated that the most harrowing, are the cases where young children and elderly women are subjected to the horror of rape. “Also mindboggling are cases where biological fathers , which is incomprehensible to say the least,” Magagula said.’
The crime prevention campaign took place on the same day the United States released its annual report on crime and safety in Swaziland. As in past years it labelled Mbabane as a ‘critical-threat location’. The report is aimed at US diplomats visiting the kingdom.
The ‘The general crime rate [in Swaziland] is above the U.S. national average. Although criminals consider Mbabane and Manzini prime grounds for operation due to the number of people, businesses, and affluent areas, the rate of crime reported in small towns and rural areas continues to increase. Urban areas are particularly dangerous at night, and the presence of pedestrians should not be interpreted as an indication of a secure/safe environment.
‘Residential burglary and petty theft are the most commonly reported crimes. They occur at all locations regardless of time. Criminals are generally interested in cell phones and cash. Most break-ins occur at homes without security guards and/or centrally monitored home alarm systems.’
It added, ‘Criminals usually brandish edged weapons (knives or machetes), but the use of firearms has steadily increased in the past few years. While criminals generally rely on the threat of force to commit crimes, they will resort to physical, to include deadly, force if victims resist.’
The report added, ‘Police response time to incidents is slow when compared to the U.S., unless the police are in the general area where the incident occurred. Police consider a 30-minute response time adequate, even in urban areas. Police are generally willing to assist but often lack transportation and resources to properly respond to, or investigate, crimes.’
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