The number of rapes reported in Swaziland (eSwatini) more than doubled in a three-month period. Violent crime is on a steady increase and house breaking and theft have also risen, according to an official report just published.
The number of rapes rose from 111 cases to 241 cases, the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) Performance Report for the second quarter ending 30 September 2019 stated.
The report added there had also been 27 murders and 34 attempted murders.
The statistics contradict the message often voiced by absolute monarch King Mswati III that Swaziland is a ‘peaceful’ kingdom.
The eSwatini News (formerly Swazi News) reported, ‘Violent crime is on a steady increase in the country as communities have to grapple with murder and armed robberies each day. House breaking and theft has also increased rapidly.’
The REPS report stated armed robbery had also doubled from 36 in the previous reporting period to 50. House breaking and robberies rose from 1,420 to 1,430.
A separate report released in March 2019 from the United States Overseas Security Advisory Council stated, ‘There is serious risk from crime in Mbabane. 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.’
The report is published annually to guide US diplomats working in Swaziland. It warned, ‘Urban areas are particularly dangerous at night; do not interpret the presence of pedestrians as an indication of a secure/safe environment.
‘Residential burglary and petty theft are the most commonly reported crimes, occurring at all locations regardless of time. Criminals are generally interested in electronic devices and cash.
‘Most break-ins occur at homes without security guards and/or centrally monitored home alarm systems. Perimeter walls, security guards, window grilles, and centrally monitored alarm systems supported by security response teams are essential to ensure the safety of residents and homes.
‘Although residential guard dogs commonly serve as a deterrent, they should not be a residence’s only line of defense. The general modus operandi of robbers is to target residences or businesses that have little/no security measures in place.
‘Criminals usually brandish edged weapons (e.g. 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. While the murder rate remains lower than some African countries, Eswatini experiences violent deaths on a frequent basis; some have been particularly gruesome. Victims have been decapitated, with body parts mutilated or removed.’
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