Community police officers in Swaziland (eSwatini) illegally stripped a suspected rapist naked and whipped him with a cane on his private parts.
This, the latest in a long line of abuses of power by the community police, happened at Lushikishini, outside Mankayane.
The man who was suspected of raping a child aged 11 is thought to be a South African cannabis dealer.
The eSwatini News reported, ‘No amount of wailing could deter the enraged community members from using brutal tactics to squeeze information from the suspect, in the presence of his young survivor.’
He was later handed over to the Mankayane police who charged him with rape.
The community police operate in rural Swaziland and are supervised by traditional chiefs who are local representatives of the absolute monarch, King Mswati III. They have the authority to arrest suspects concerning minor offences for trial by an inner council within the chiefdom. For serious offences suspects should be handed over to the official police for further investigations.
There have been a number of reports of community police brutality in Swaziland. In October 2020, a 17-year-old man was whipped on the back by community police at Fairview, Manzini. He had allegedly tried to defraud the owner of a shebeen (informal drinking place).
Other cases of brutality include community police at KaMasuku who paraded naked five suspected thieves and severely beat them on their buttocks. At least two needed hospital treatment.
Community police at Mahwalala allegedly beat a teenager to death to make him confess to a crime he had not committed. He was one of six people accused by the police of robbing an elderly man. It said he was interrogated through the night and died of his injuries.
Community police at Gundvwini in the Manzini region illegally forced a six-year-old boy to strip and then thrashed him on the naked buttocks after he was accused of stealing a cellphone from a schoolteacher.
Swaziland community police illegally whip teenager, in latest brutality report
Swaziland police ‘beat teenager to death to make him confess to crime he did not commit’
Swaziland community police strip theft suspects naked and beat their buttocks in latest illegal action