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JUSTICE FOR THABANI MARCH TURNS VIOLENT

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MANZINI – The march for #JusticeforThabani ended in a nasty clash between protesters and police officers with members of both parties sustaining injuries.

This was when over 2 000 protesters, who comprised students from various tertiary institutions, members of political formations and human rights activists, pelted stones at police officers, who retaliated by firing rubber bullets at them. This was at the climax of a protest march that was organised by Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) in an effort to seek ‘justice’ in the mystery surrounding the demise of 25-year-old University of Eswatini Law student (UNESWA), Thabani Nkomonye. Nkomonye is said to have died in a car accident last Saturday along the Mhlaleni–Nhlangano Road at Nhlambeni. A Mazda Demio sedan, which Nkomonye was driving, was found stationary about 15 metres away from the main road and was subsequently towed by police officers to the Matsapha Police Station on the same night of the accident – Saturday, though his whereabouts remained unknown then.

Accident

Despite that police reportedly searched for his body on the night of the accident and the subsequent day, it was not found until on the sixth day – Thursday – about 25 kilometres from where his vehicle was towed. The delay in the discovery of Nkomonye’s body raised questions in various sectors of the society and a diversity of insinuations were shared on social media platforms, with many believing that the police had a hand in his death. This resulted in the #JusticeforThabani movement, whereupon police were ordered to answer a number of questions as their account of events did not make sense to the commentators. Following that, students through social media, relayed that they would be marching to the Matsapha Police Station to deliver a petition on the demise of their fellow student, as a result of alleged police brutality. The protest march started at UNESWA, Kwaluseni Campus, where the energised students sang political songs and danced along the campus leading to their departure from the tertiary institution around 9am.

Political

The protesters filled the UNESWA, Kwaluseni Campus – Ndlunganye Public Road singing political songs and calling upon bystanders who were watching from the sidelines to join in the march. The march to the police station was characterised by sprints and random stops in the middle of the road to control the protesters by their leaders.

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