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MBABANE – Swazis travelling in a kombi got more than they bargained for when they were ordered by soldiers to strip stark naked just after crossing the Mozambican border.

The group of Swazis who had visited Mozambique had the most adverse experience on their return journey last week Thursday when the kombi they were travelling in was stopped by soldiers and ordered them to strip as part of a ‘routine body search’.

The passengers were from a vacation in the neighbouring country.
Apparently, the soldiers were of the thought that they were hawkers who frequent the neighbouring State to buy items to sell locally.
It is understood that some of these hawkers would wear their clothes in layers in order to avoid paying tax at the border.

Narrating their ordeal, they said after entering Swaziland through Mhlumeni Border Gate, they were ordered by members of the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) to alight from the vehicle they were travelling in, as per the norm for people entering the country.

The soldiers were in a tent mounted not far from the border gate, around Lugongolweni, on the junction to Sitsatsaweni.
The passengers said they followed instructions and lay on the ground.

After their bags and vehicle were searched, a female soldier is said to have ordered that everyone take off their clothes so that they could inspect them for hidden items bought from Mozambique.
At first, the shocked citizens said they were hesitant to do as ordered but the female soldier insisted that they comply.
They said they felt disrespected, embarrassed and reduced to nothing as they were made to undress in the open whereas it was cold. Also, the fact that they were a mixed gender made complying with the order quite uncomfortable.

“The woman was cruel! She ordered us to take off all our clothes in the open at night. Imagine all of us naked while she accused us of hiding things. She treated us like little children,” said one female victim. 
“She was not polite. What infuriates me is that they found nothing at all, they were just taking us for a ride,” said another.

They mentioned that they had gone to Mozambique on vacation but the soldiers would not hear any of it.

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