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Eswatini: Harrowing account of tear gas thrown into buses, shooting protesters

21 October 2021 8:14 AM
Tags:
eSwatini

Refilwe Moloto speaks to Lucky Lukhele, spokesperson for the Swaziland Solidarity Network.
  • Swaziland Solidarity Movement's Lucky Lukhele describes the violence meted out to protesters on Wednesday in Eswatini
  • Lukhele says mercenary forces from Equitorial Guinea dressed in eSwatini police uniforms are currently responsible for most of the shootings
  • Lukhele says he has some hope that the South African delegation will help resolve the situation
  • He believes that King Swati should be arrested and face charges at the International Criminal Court
Copyright: alekstaurus / 123rf

In Eswatini, violence by police and army is reportedly continuing following protests against the monarchy.

Refilwe Moloto speaks to Lucky Lukhele, spokesperson for the Swaziland Solidarity Network.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is sending former cabinet minister Jeff Radebe and other envoys to meet the country’s King Mswati.

Emotionally I am not ok. The violence that one has seen meted out to the ordinary citizens by the king.

Lucky Lukhele, Spokesperson - Swaziland Solidarity Network

He recounts how from 20 June to 3 July the country experienced three days of killings.

One hundred innocent citizens were shot and killed - they were massacred by the king. And more than 250 were hospitalised, and those that were lucky lost their limbs, they are in wheelchairs, now on crutches, and have permanent scars.

Lucky Lukhele, Spokesperson - Swaziland Solidarity Network

But, he notes, the violence still continues.

Yesterday transporters who were transporting these protesters to Mbabane - you remember yesterday there was a court appearance of the two incarcerated MPS - so the entire civil society said no, let us go and give solidarity.

Lucky Lukhele, Spokesperson - Swaziland Solidarity Network

As they were travelling to Mbabane the capital city, the police stopped the buses and throw in tear gas canisters inside the bus. Now you can imagine the chaos that caused. Some tried to jump out of the windows, some started to run, they were then shot at in an execution-style, but surprisingly the aiming was all on the legs this time around.

Lucky Lukhele, Spokesperson - Swaziland Solidarity Network

And those that fell on the ground were taken to the nearest police station where they were cut deep, and if the bullet is lodged in then only an ambulance will be called.

Lucky Lukhele, Spokesperson - Swaziland Solidarity Network

Lukhele says Eswatini has run out of blood supply due to the injuries.

That is why progressive forces are calling on people to donate blood to the different blood banks in the country.

Lucky Lukhele, Spokesperson - Swaziland Solidarity Network

The internet we can confirm was shut down the whole day, clearly to conceal evidence of the barbarism that the king was dishing out yesterday.

Lucky Lukhele, Spokesperson - Swaziland Solidarity Network

Another thing we wish to highlight to the world is that there are more than 300 mercenaries that are coming from Equatorial Guinea, you remember that the king is a personal friend and business party of that president.

Lucky Lukhele, Spokesperson - Swaziland Solidarity Network

These people are in Swaziland dressed in the Swaziland uniform of the police and they are the ones that are doing the most shooting now because the king tends not to trust some of the Swazis in the army and the police.

Lucky Lukhele, Spokesperson - Swaziland Solidarity Network

Will the South African delegation make a difference?

We welcome interventions from multinational bodies, in particular, South Africa's President Ramaphosa although it is long overdue.

Lucky Lukhele, Spokesperson - Swaziland Solidarity Network

We have hope for his intervention given his experience in negotiation.

Lucky Lukhele, Spokesperson - Swaziland Solidarity Network

The situation in Swaziland is much more urgent because people continue to die.

Lucky Lukhele, Spokesperson - Swaziland Solidarity Network

He says he hopes Hadebe will engage with the entire civil society to help resolve this.

However, we don't see King Swati sitting around a round table with the people of Swaziland because he has committed such heinous crimes. The only table ready for him is the one at ICC (International Criminal Court) to be arrested and charged with the massacre and crime against humanity.

Lucky Lukhele, Spokesperson - Swaziland Solidarity Network



21 October 2021 8:14 AM
Tags:
eSwatini

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