Children at the Malkerns Juvenile Industrial School were systematically assaulted for more than five hours by correctional service officers.
Some of the children were forced to strip naked for beatings by the officers who used belts, sneakers, open hands and feet to assault them all over their bodies.
The Swazi News newspaper reported that 15 officers were involved and more than two thirds of the 430 pupils at the school were assaulted from 8.30 am until after 2.00 pm, during a day last week.
One child interviewed by the newspaper said, ‘They were using belts, open hands and an All-Star (sneaker). We were ordered to strip naked before being assaulted all over the body, indiscriminately.’
The attack was also described by another as being worse than police torture known as ‘lishubhu’.
Another said, ‘Besi bulawa (we were being murdered).’
When asked why they were assaulted, one pupil responded, ‘Watsi lomunye thishela basi faka luvalo (one of the teachers told us that they were instilling fear).’
The pupils said they did not report the matter to the police because they feared being victimised.
Pupils at the school include juvenile offenders and children who live near nearby.
Correctional Services Commissioner Mzuthini Ntshangase told the newspaper, ‘Thina besicala ukube thusa (It was the first time we used corporal punishment).’ He said the officers only used a stick to deliver corporal punishment.
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