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MANZINI - Another executive member of SNUS has been taken in by the police, but instead of being arrested and charged, he was allegedly tortured using taser guns.

The incident took place just over 24 hours after the police took in the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) President Colani Maseko, whom they eventually charged with three counts; sedition and two charges of malicious damage to property. Sakhile ‘Awuviva’ Nxumalo, who is SNUS Political Educator and Training Officer, was caught by a group of armed police officers near Riverstone Mall, while on his way to Manzini City Centre, after partaking in a protest action, which was organised by students of the Southern Africa Nazarene University (SANU) at the institution yesterday morning. Nxumalo is also the Manzini Regional Chairperson of the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO), which is a youth wing for the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO). The protest action he had attended was about the arrest of the students’ union president, Maseko.


The students’ march was a peaceful one as the scholars and political activists who had come to support them, marched around the institution. In the process, some pupils from Manzini Nazarene Primary School, left their classrooms and ran out of the school premises, yet the protesting students were just passing next to the school. However, some of the teachers recalled the pupils to class and lessons continued.  Again, as the students protested by Manzini Nazarene High School, the pupils came out of their classrooms. As a result, lessons did not continue and some of the pupils were seen following the protesting students closely, such that others joined them when they were being addressed by their leaders at the university’s sports ground.
Thereafter, the students said they wanted to deliver a petition to the administration of the university and when they were about to march from the sports ground to the administration block, which is a stone’s throw, a police van from the Operational Support Services Unit (OSSU), which is a military wing of the police force, arrived and the Manzini Nazarene High School pupils who followed the marching students closely, bolted.

The police van was loaded with OSSU officers who were armed with guns, rubber bullet shotguns, tear gas canisters and stun grenades. They parked the van by Manzini Nazarene Practising School, which was a stone’s throw from the students. Meanwhile, the protesting students marched towards the administration block and a police water cannon arrived with more armed OSSU officers. A few moments later, the students marched back from the administration block’s gate, without delivering the petition as no one from SANU administration showed up to receive it. As they were peacefully marching away from the administration block, the police water cannon entered the sports ground and one of the occupants used the vehicle’s loudspeaker to order the students to vacate the university premises. The water canon followed them closely.

Again, as the students took a left turn, which is a path going out of the institution, one of the armed police officers from OSSU threw a stun grenade and upon hearing its loud banging sound, the protesting students ran helter-skelter and a hot pursuit ensued. Other students tried to hide within the institution, but the police looked in every corner and ordered them to leave. In fact, they drove them out until they reached and crossed the Manzini Nazarene traffic lights, where the OSSU van and water cannon parked. However, some of the plain-clothes police officers followed the students who walked towards Fairview and Manzini, via Riverstone Mall. It was gathered that later on, the police were picked up by a car as they monitored the movements of the students they were following. According to a source close to the matter, he alleged that the SNUS political educator and training officer was grabbed by a group of police officers, who were using a white van which was not registered in the known government registration plates.

“They put him in the van and it drove off to Riverstone Mall underground parking and they were followed by an OSSU van, which was loaded with armed police officers,” the source said. He alleged that Nxumalo was tortured by the law enforcers in the police post, which is at Riverstone Mall (underground) and later on dropped him off at hospital.
One of the sources who got a chance to see him at the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial (RFM) Hospital, where he was taken to, supposedly by the police, said he was allegedly tortured with taser guns, to an extent that he would lose his balance when standing.


Again, the Secretary General of PUDEMO, Wandile Dludlu, said as an organisation, they were aware that Nxumalo was taken in by the police, who later tortured him with taser guns, such that he had no visible bruises on the body and face. Dludlu added that after being attended to at the hospital, Nxumalo confirmed to them that he was safe and was not charged by the police. However, he mentioned that following the state he was in, he needed more medical attention to check the effects of the tortured. On another note, Dludlu said they understood that police officers were allegedly working under orders, but he reminded them that violence begets violence.  He said they would never solve the country’s political problems with violence. Instead, he said if they continued to use violence, they would make matters worse.

Deputy Police Information and Communications Officer Inspector Nosipho Mnguni claimed Nxumalo was taken in, but he was cautioned and released after he had been found allegedly inciting violence towards SANU administration. She added that the cautioning happened at Riverstone Police Post. When she was asked about the alleged assault, she confirmed it. She also added that the police were investigating how the said assault took place. Again, when the deputy police spokesperson was asked about the alleged tortured, she said she could not comment further about the matter because it was being investigated. On the other hand, she confirmed that the police took Nxumalo to hospital after the incident.  Efforts of getting a comment from Nxumalo proved futile as his mobile phone was not available on both MTN Eswatini and Eswatini Mobile networks for the better part of yesterday.

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