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SOLDIERS TORTURED, FORCED US TO EAT RAW MEAT - YOUTH

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MBABANE – Members of the Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF) on Saturday night stopped a party and allegedly assaulted some youths who were having a braai.

According to three of the youths aged between 17-20 years, the soldiers found them at Mbangweni enjoying a braai in celebration of their friend’s 21st birthday. The trio explained that they were within the premises of the homestead when one of the soldiers appeared over a wall fence and asked one of them to come outside. The time was way past the curfew hours. *Andile said he obliged and the soldier told him to inform everyone that all those who were not permanent residents of the home should vacate with immediate effect. Again, Andile said he obliged. He said some of them heeded the call and went out, but surprisingly, another soldier emerged, armed with a firearm and sticks. “I told the soldiers that the people were leaving, but they seemed less interested,” said Andile. He alleged that the second soldier started hurling insults at them and demanded that everyone should vacate before he lost his temper. Andile said as the soldier was shouting, the people inside started getting scared and became reluctant to vacate.

Kicked

He alleged that the soldiers went inside the homestead and kicked one of the doors. Andile said there were other people who were asleep in other rooms who were not part of the celebration. He said even those people were allegedly assaulted as the soldiers kicked the doors and got inside. Andile further narrated that the soldiers allegedly forced them all out to the tar road where they were forced to do push-ups with their fists for over 30 minutes. He alleged that while doing the push-ups, they were assaulted with a mop stick. Andile said the mop stick broke and the soldiers allegedly took a thorny hedge stick and assaulted them with it. He explained that while they were doing the push-ups, the soldiers brought some of the half-cooked meat and threw it on the ground and forced them to eat it. He said some of the meat was still raw and hot from the fire. “Basidlisa inyama ishisa, iluhlata imfimfa ingati,” said Andile in vernacular, meaning they were forced to eat the raw and hot meat from the fire. He said they were forced to eat it from the ground not using their hands.

Andile alleged that some swallowed bones due to the manner they were forced to eat the meat. During a visit by this reporter to Andile’s homestead at Makholokholo yesterday afternoon, three of them were found lying on their beds. They had bruises mainly on their buttocks. Andile’s father, *Musa, said he was disappointed by the behaviour of the soldiers. He said he did not understand the reason why his children were assaulted because he believed that even if his sons committed a crime, the soldiers should have arrested them and then called him to pay a fine.

Musa said his sons could not go to school yesterday as they were in pain due to the alleged assault. He said some were doing their high school at Woodlands while another one was studying at Eswatini College of Technology (ECOT). When asked if he had reported the case to the police, Musa said he did call the them, but they told him to bring his sons to the police station. He said that would be difficult for him to do since his sons could not sit, but rather needed an ambulance where they could lie down. UEDF Public Affairs 2nd Lieutenant Tengetile Khumalo said her office had not been furnished with the alleged incident report, making it impossible to comment from an uninformed position.

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