Police station fire was politically motivated'
MBABANE – A high profile police investigation into the mysterious fire that broke out at the Manzini Police Station on Thursday night points to the act being politically motivated.
The investigation has ruled out the possibility that the fire might have been caused by an electric fault, as previously speculated.
Instead, it alleges that someone intentionally burnt the police station and this notion is greatly supported by unknown footprints that investigators found at the scene.
Police Commissioner Isaac Magagula, during a press conference yesterday, said leading the investigation is an arson expert that has been provided by the South African Police Service.
The fire broke out on the eve of the police pass-out parade that was, as per the norm, graced by His Majesty King Mswati III.
Magagula said the fire broke out inside the exhibits room and caused damage amounting to over E500 000.
He said the fire burnt, beyond recognition, a E150 000 worth vehicle belonging to a police officer.
Although the commissioner did not state which police officer the vehicle belonged to, reports confirmed by police PRO Superintendent Wendy Hleta are to the effect that it belonged to Manzini Police Station Desk Officer Aaron Methula.
"This was not a normal fire outbreak and neither was it caused by an electric fault. Our own investigations do not point in that direction. We then engaged a South African expert to assist us," Magagula, the police chief, said.
He continued: "Evidently, the fire was caused by someone. This is a bad act. Probably, it was caused by someone trying to destroy evidence or someone with political motives because we know that the police are being targeted. We greatly suspect that it was politically motivated. Footprints are evident and there are traces of paper that was used. The person was trying to burn down the whole building. Indications are that this was a politically motivated incident of arson."
The commissioner said the exhibits room was extensively damaged and it would cost a lot of money to have it refurbished.
"This was an evil act. We request the public to assist us with information so as to apprehend the culprit(s). Police cannot get to the bottom of this crime without the public’s assistance," Magagula appealed.
When the fire broke out, police are reported to have abandoned the police station while six inmates had to be hastily evacuated and rushed to nearby police stations.
Several police officers who were in their rooms at the camp had to rush to the station after an alarm was raised.
Previous bombings of prominent buildings or individual’s homes include the 1999 bombing of the former Tinkhundla building (now DPM’s office building) along Gwamile Street which resulted in the death of a security guard. In 2006, Government Press Secretary, Percy Simelane’s house was bombed and in the same year Siphofaneni MP Gundwane Gamedze suffered the same fate.
In 2010, the home of former police PRO Vusi Masuku, who is now Commandant at the Matsapha Police College, was also bombed by two suspects who are presently being tried by the High Court for terrorism-related charges.
It might be true that its politically motivated, but what is the reason beyond that. I think it is best for a student to blame a teacher kutsi he made him fail after atibute kutsi taba tini latentile kutsi yena aphase.The country is crying but our government does not care,the only thing they do bakhuluma kudwala.
July 9, 2012, 9:01 AM, MBONGISENI (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What is really going on in this country? One thing I know is that fighting and burning buildings does not sort any problem. Its high time that we appreciate the little that we get.
July 9, 2012, 9:01 AM, Siziba Angimati (email@example.com)
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