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MBABANE – On Saturday night, unknown gunmen attacked the homestead of Speaker Petros Mavimbela at Zondwako.  

The unknown men fired about 10 gunshots at Mavimbela’s home, hitting the walls and windows of two houses. They are also said to have attempted to petrol-bomb Mavimbela’s main house but the explosive is said to have not gone off and only hit the walls and left it sooted. A hole was also noticed on the wall where the petrol bomb was thrown. According to Mavimbela, who is also Mhlambanyatsi Member of Parliament (MP), the attack started at around midnight while he and his family were asleep. He narrated that he first heard a sound which was purportedly made by the petrol bomb when it hit the wall. He said he then quickly went to check through the window in the bathroom and saw a huge flame outside the house.


Mavimbela said a few minutes later, he heard the first gunshot hitting the wall of his bedroom. Upon hearing that, Mavimbela said he went to the other bedrooms where he woke up his children and grandchildren. He said his wife was not at home as she was attending a funeral somewhere. He said he took the children and stood with them by the passage and then he called the police who responded promptly. Mavimbela noted that he heard about 10 gunshots while he waited for the arrival of the police. He said the attackers started by shooting towards the main house and then later on the other house which was used as a storeroom.

He explained that the attackers were shooting from the back of his home. He could not establish how many attackers had invaded his home. He added that when the police arrived, they collected bullets that fell off the walls and those that passed through the window. He said the officer also picked up the bullet shell casings which were found just a few metres away from the back of his home. He highlighted that before the shooting, his dogs started barking by the entrance moving towards the back but after the first gunshot they all went silent. Mavimbela said his family was safe for now, however, the children were traumatised by the sound of several gunshots. When asked if the attack was politically related in his view, Mavimbela said he would not be certain because he did not know the attackers or had  any evidence to that effect.

Nonetheless, he condemned such an act, mentioning that if there were some differences that people had with him, they should be brought to the table and addressed harmoniously other than the armed attacks. “Damaging one’s property or killing each other is not a solution,” said Mavimbela. He said he believed that people should live in harmony, not these attacks. He said despite the attack, he would continue staying at his home because there was nowhere else he could go. Mavimbela said due to the political unrest, politicians were supposed to be protected hence he was still to discuss with the relevant structures issues relating to security.

By the time this publication arrived at Mavimbela’s homestead, a contingent of police officers from different departments: Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and other uniformed police officers were found inspecting the politician’s home. According to one of the police officers who were at the scene, they were able to inspect the holes on the walls and windows which they suspected were inflicted by the bullets.  The police officer said they were able to recover the bullets which fell to the ground. He said they were yet to run ballistics on the bullets and the shell castings found nearby the scene. He said a face mask was also found at the scene, which was suspected to belong to the attackers.

By the time this reporter left the Mavimbela homestead, the police officers were preparing to deploy sniffer dogs to help them in their investigations.  
Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati confirmed the incident. Vilakati said unknown people attacked Mavimbela’s home by allegedly shooting and attempted petrol-bombing his home. Vilakati said police were still conducting investigations and there were no arrests so far.

Meanwhile, a Dlamini homestead near Mavimbela’s home was invaded on the same night of the attack at the Speaker’s homestead. According to one of the helpers at Mavimbela’s homestead, it was suspected that the attackers started off by stealing alcohol at the Dlamini homestead before they attacked the Speaker’s home. The Dlamini homestead is popularly known as KaWelile as it doubles as a tavern. A visit by this publication to KaWelile unearthed that about 14 crates of beer were stolen on the night in question. By the time this publication visited KaWelile, the owner or the head of the homestead, Welile Dlamini, was not around but only a teenage girl was found in the compound.

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