Wednesday, January 13, 2010


First it was trigger happy soldiers who killed civilians in cold blood and then it was the police force, now it’s the turn of security guards.

News comes that an alleged poacher Sicelo Mamba was shot 12 times by security guards after he was found hunting impala outside of a farm.

Now relatives want to know what happened. They are asking why the guards had to release 12 rounds of ammunition and are alleging that the guards where aiming to kill Sicelo.

According to a report in the Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily in the kingdom, Mamba’s sister Boshiwe Mamba said she later saw his body with bullet wounds in his head, back and one through the buttocks which seemed to have burst his bladder.

‘There is a lot of mystery surrounding his death and it looks like these people knew exactly who Sicelo was,’ she told the Times.

She added that the bandages all over his body made it difficult to see the other wounds.

According to Sanele Vilakati who had accompanied Sicelo Mamba on 3 January 2010, the two had gone hunting and that they killed two impalas.

‘He left when we had just killed the animals and we were to meet at home,’ Vilakati told the Times.

He said a few minutes later just after 7pm he heard guns shots and Sicelo was screaming like someone in pain.

Vilakati said that five more shots were fired at the crying Sicelo and then there was silence.

He said although the family believe that Sicelo was shot by farm guards, he believes he was shot by guards who look after cattle but carry R5 rifles.

The Times did not give the name of the farm where the killing took place because police are still investigating, although the newspaper failed to explain how revealing this information would hamper the police.

I don’t know where the incident took place, but I do know there has been a history of attacks by security guards in rural Swaziland.

As I wrote in 2008, a young Swazi man, Musa Gamedze, was hunted down and executed in broad daylight at his home, in full view of his children. According to eyewitness reports the man who fired the fatal shot was the General Manager of a local private game reserve, Mkhaya, accompanied by three police officers.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) reported at the time that Big Game Parks (BGP) owns and manages Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and Mkhaya Nature Reserve. It also manages Hlane National Park, the country’s largest protected area, held in trust for the Nation by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

In 2005 Friends of the Earth Swaziland published a research report into the conflicts arising from the management of protected areas. It exposed numerous cases of human rights abuses which were alleged to have been committed in the name of conservation by game rangers and put forward various recommendations. These include the urgent repeal of section 23 of the Game Act, used by perpetrators of these human rights abuses to avoid prosecution.

No comments: