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image Phephile Sifundza, the 20-year-old SANU student who was shot by the police. (R) The student’s leg after X-ray check-ups. (Pic:Jabulisa Dlamini)

MANZINI - Once again, the alleged use of excessive force by the police when dispersing protesters has been put in the spotlight.

This is because a Southern Africa Nazarene University (SANU) student was shot by the police with what is suspected to have been a rubber bullet.
The incident took place yesterday, which was the second day of the SANU students’ boycott.

Impeccable sources within the institution said when the students gathered at the Faculty of Education Lecturer Theatre yesterday morning, they learnt that some scholars from the Faculty of Health Sciences were in class.


The sources said the protesting students marched to the Faculty of Health Sciences and allegedly used a pepper spray gun to force the learning scholars out of the lecture room.

Thereafter, they said the protesting students collected all sort of litter and started fires near both faculties as they sang and danced to political songs around the campus.

At that time, the insiders said armed police officers who were deployed to monitor the students’ demonstration, were watching from a distance.
Later on, they said the office of the registrar issued a memorandum notifying the students that the Senate of the university had met and resolved to close the institution due to the continued students’ violence and acts of vandalism.

The memorandum ordered the students to vacate the institution by 11:30am. Following the memorandum, the sources said the scenario escalated as the protesting students turned rowdy. As a result, the police who were keeping a close eye had to intervene by engaging the students’ representative council (SRC) executive committee members.

At 11:30am, the sources said the police had to enforce the orders of the memorandum that the students had to leave.
“That is where all hell broke loose and the students clashed with the law enforcers who were trying to drive them out of the institution,” sources said.
Upon getting out of the campus, the sources said the rowdy students started fire on the public road leading to Manzini Nazarene traffic lights.

As a result of the students’ behaviour, the police fired several warning shots in the air and also used rubber bullets to disperse the scholars, who ran helter-skelter.
“In that midst, Phephile Sifundza, who is Medical Laboratory Science second-year student in the Faculty of Health Sciences, was shot,” the sources said.


Since the students were running helter-skelter, their shot colleague was rushed to the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial (RFM) Hospital by the police.
SANU SRC Secretary General Colani Maseko confirmed the shooting incident and said they were yet to visit their colleague in hospital. He also confirmed that the institution had been closed indefinitely, something which SANU Marketing Manager Petros Mavuso also confirmed. 

It is worth noting that recently, police shot protesting workers with rubber bullets in Mbabane and Manzini. An ordinary citizen, Fikile Nhlabatsi, was also shot with rubber bullets during the recent civil servants’ strike action in Manzini.

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