Thursday, August 1, 2019

Man dies after ‘heavy assault’ by Swaziland police

A man in Swaziland / eSwatini has died in hospital nearly two months after allegedly being heavily assaulted by police. It is the latest report among many of police assault in the kingdom.

Sebenele ‘Bebe’ Mbuyisa, aged 29, from Mhlatane, had reportedly been beaten by two officers.

The Times of Swaziland reported Mbuyisa’s family said police had accused him of trying to steal copper. His cousin Lucky Malinga told the newspaper, ‘They heavily assaulted him with kicks, fists and the barrel of a rifle all over his body until he was unconscious.’

The Times added the police then put Mbuyisa’s body in a van and dumped him at an open field about 30 kilometres away.

Hours later a passer-by found him and other police took him to hospital.

There are many cases of police assault in Swaziland. In January 2019 Mbabane magistrate Sindisile Zwane spoke out about the increasing number of suspects who appeared in court with bruises claiming they have been assaulted by police.

She said police should be able to question people without beating them up.

She made her comments during a trial of Jules Tsabedze who was charged with obstructing two police officers. 

This was not the first time a magistrate in Swaziland had made a public rebuke of police. In March 2018 Principal Magistrate at Manzini David Khumalo told police they must not beat suspects after a man appeared in court with injuries all over his body. 

The Swazi Observer reported at the time, ‘The Principal Magistrate warned that accused persons are citizens of the country and they have rights too. He said they have a right to assist police with investigations but they cannot be forced to do that by being assaulted.’

Blessing Bakhe Maseko, aged 22, of Madonsa, informed the court through his attorney that he was heavily assaulted with a sjambok [whip] while inside police cells.

There have been many allegations of police assault in recent times. In November 2018 it was reported a man from Mangwaneni was left close to death after being allegedly assaulted by two officers at a police station. He suffered severe internal bleeding, heart seizures, the swelling of his kidneys and nerve damage on both his arms and legs.

In September 2018 four women were reportedly beaten with sjamboks and pipes and scalded with boiling water at Siteki police station. Two of them needed hospital treatment for burns and blisters. They were accused of stealing from shops.

In March 2017 a man accused of multiple murders told Manzini Magistrates’ Court he was tortured by police for 11 days to force him to confess. He said he was suffocated with a tube and assaulted all over his body, resulting in many serious injuries. The alleged attack was said to have taken place at Lobamba Police Station.

In January 2017 local media reported police forced a 13-year-old boy to remove his trousers and flogged him at Ngwenya police station with a sjambok, to make him confess to stealing a mobile phone. 

See also

‘Horror tale of Swazi police torture’

More police torture in Swaziland

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