Thursday, February 11, 2010


Students in Swaziland fear that one of their leaders who was yesterday abducted by Swazi state police may have been murdered.

The President of the University of Swaziland (UNISWA) Student Representative Council) Pius Vilakati, was among a number of student leaders abducted by police as they tried to organise a protest march through Manzini, Swaziland’s main business city.

The other student leaders of the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) were released but the whereabouts of Pius Vilakati is unknown. Here is also concern over the whereabouts of Bheki Khumalo, president of SNUS.

The Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) reports that there is widespread fear amongst the students that Pius Vilakati ‘could possibly have been harmed or murdered’.

SSN says, ‘This is fuelled by the widespread reports of violence employed by police on innocent citizens in the past few months.’

Information on the abduction and the police behaviour is patchy but both of Swaziland’s daily newspapers are reporting that the police arrested the student leaders and stopped a planned march through Manzini.

Maxwell Dlamini, NSUS national organising secretary, is quoted by the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, saying that police said the demonstration was illegal because students did not have a permit to march.

Dlamini said the student leaders were arrested to destabilise the march.

The Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, reported that police arrested student leaders, questioned them and later dumped them in the remote countryside.

No comments: