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NO COMMENT FROM UEDF FOR NOW

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MANZINI – The army is void of a comment for now.

The Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF) Public Affairs Officer, Lieutenant Tengetile Khumalo, said she was not in a position to comment on the torture and assault of the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) President, Colani Maseko. She said this was because the operations officer in charge had not given the public affairs office the day’s detailed report. Khumalo  said this when responding to a questionnaire which was sent to her by this publication yesterday afternoon.

Triggered

In the questionnaire, she was given a summary of the story and was asked what triggered the military men to attend the protest action by UNESWA students at Kwaluseni Campus, and if protocol was followed when the soldiers attended to the matter. She was also asked how bad the situation was, which could warrant soldiers to attend the protest, and if there was any criminal offence that the SNUS president was found to have committed, which made them to torture him in the manner they did. The army spokesperson was also asked what offence the soldiers recommended that the police should charge Maseko with when they took him to the Matsapha Police Station. Moreover, she was asked if soldiers were warranted by the law to force people to roll on the ground and assault them.

Operations

In her response, Lieutenant Khumalo said the publication’s questionnaire was highly appreciated. However, she said unfortunately, her office was not in a position to respond to it, owing to the fact that the operations officer in charge had not given an account to the office of the UEDF public affairs, especially the day’s detailed report. “It would, therefore, be folly on my part to respond before formal reports on the operation have been made,” the PRO said. Thereafter, this publication asked if the army had deployed any soldiers to work at UNESWA yesterday, or they were just passing by and saw protesting students. She was also informed that the aim of the question was to establish that the military men did this under instructions or they just intervened. It was also highlighted that this question was asked because there was an allegation that the soldiers were passing by and they stopped after seeing the students protesting. The claims which were received by this publication were that police officers had been sent to control the situation. In response, Khumalo said as she had mentioned earlier on, she would have to wait for the operations officer in charge to give an account on all details.

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