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LOBAMBA – Mashibhini, one of the busiest streets in the country, has gone quiet after two people were shot dead in full view of the public on Saturday.

Mashibhini is situated a few kilometers from Ludzidzini Royal Residence at Lobamba. One resident is fighting for his life after he was shot three times in different parts of his body while another is recuperating at home. Information gathered was to the effect that the quartet was shot by members of Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF), who were patrolling the area at around 4pm. Two of the shot residents are initiated warriors while the other operated a ‘chicken dust’ business in the area. One of the deceased was identified as Phephisa Fakudze, a well-known man of Sitjeni, who was operating a ‘chicken dust’ business in the area. However, the family requested not to comment further since they did not witness the incident. “We have just been informed that people were rushed to the Mbabane Government Hospital after they were shot at Mashibhini yesterday (Saturday). Police officers were here to tell us that Phephisa has died and that’s all we can say for now,” said one of the family members. The other deceased person was identified as Boy Mdlandla Matimela of Lomahasha, who is a well-known referee around Lobamba. During a visit to his residential area, people were found already passing condolences to his family.

It transpired that some of the people were congregants of a Jericho Church in Zion where Matimela worshipped. His relatives stated that Matimela had just left the house at round 4pm on Saturday when they heard three gunshots at Mashibhini, which is less than a kilometre from the house. “He left the house to buy a few things. He promised to buy his wife a pack of Halls since she was coughing. His wife called him after we heard the gunshots but his cellphone rang unanswered. We came to check on Matimela later but were told that his whereabouts were still unknown since he left. We heard rumours that he was among the people who were shot by the soldiers. His death was confirmed after some relatives positively identified him at the mortuary,” said Matimela’s close friend. The friend disclosed that Matimela, who was a member of Inkhanyeti Regiment at Ludzidzini, spent most of his time in three places.


“As you can see from his church gowns and traditional attire, as well as photo album, he used to spend most of his time in soccer matches, cultural activities and in church,” the friend said. Matimela’s sandal and cap were discovered next to a pool of blood adjacent to a braai stand where Fakudze operated the ‘chicken dust’ business. More  blood was discovered next to some playing cards by a spaza shop which sells potato chips in the area. Matimela is survived by his wife and six children. The survivor, Mfundo Tingwenya Shongwe, stated that he was on his way to the shop with Matimela when a group of soldiers alighted from a motor vehicle. He said it was around 4:45pm. He said he only heard two words from the members of the army before gunshots were fired. The utterances which were allegedly made by the soldiers cannot be repeated due to their sensitive nature.


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