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MBABANE – In case you were wondering as to when the country’s army will leave the streets, know this: they are not going anywhere anytime soon.

The Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF) has now informed the nation that it would be a dominant sight countrywide in light of the current prevailing unrest, arson attacks on private and public properties, looting in outlets, harassment and killing of innocent civilians. His Majesty the King is Commander-In-Chief of the UEDF. The first sight of the army being deployed on the country’s streets was on Tuesday after protesters went on a rampage and set properties, including buildings and trucks transporting various commodities, on fire. This presence was heightened to even the townships, where looting of shops and barricading of roads using stones, logs and garbage bins became the order of the day. Yesterday, UEDF Public Relations Officer Lieutenant Tengetile Khumalo, at the behest of Army Commander General Jeffrey Tshabalala, said ‘the defence force has since taken over the unfortunate situation’.

She said this was in fulfilment of the army’s mandate, which, among other things, is ‘to assist civilian authority in maintaining law and order during volatile situations such as this’. “The UEDF is proud to share with all emaSwati that ever since taking over from the situation, peace has been restored. The defence force has successfully protected many lives and properties, which were on the verge of destruction by the arsonists masquerading as ‘protesters’,” Khumalo said. She emphasised that the UEDF would continue to perform its core functions in protecting lives and the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Eswatini. She said they would do this ‘despite smear campaigns aimed at tainting the reputation of our establishment’.

smear campaigns

The smear campaigns, the lieutenant said, were based on information they had reliably gathered that there were foreign insurgents who were participating in the ongoing strife, who went about shooting at innocent people  and shifting the blame to the military. “The UEDF, would like to caution, these individuals to desist from their sporadic attacks on innocent civilians and arson attacks, to refrain from wearing a camouflage uniform that resembles ours,” Khumalo said. She passed on the defence force’s request to the nation to cooperate ‘with our diligent troops on the ground and respect all curfews that have been set by government’. Khumalo pleaded with parents to ensure that their children remained at home until the entire situation cleared.
“In fact, parents ought to warn their children against joining these ‘protesters’,” said the army PRO. Khumalo further said the defence force always aspired to work as professionally as possible, hence the call for people to cooperate. She added: “To those who fail to abide by our requests, they will face the full wrath of our troops. The nation should not panic. The defence force is there to serve the nation.” The announcement by the army that it has since taken over the country’s streets happens only a day after the Institute for Democracy and Leadership (IDEAL), which is a non-profit making organisation, filed an urgent application at the High Court seeking an order removing soldiers from the streets.


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: UNESWA army incident
Should an independent body be appointed to probe the UNESWA army incident?