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MBABANE – A man in his early 40s was allegedly shot at point-blank range by soldiers on Friday last week.

The man, identified as Isaiah Amen Mavimbela, reportedly died later, while admitted to the Mankayane Government Hospital. Mavimbela of Mahlangatsha was allegedly shot by the members of the Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF) while at Mpuluzi. The deceased Mavimbela was with Kenneth Nkambule when the incident took place. Nkambule told this publication that the incident took place at around 8am. He said he had accompanied the deceased to cross over to South Africa where he was employed.


Nkambule said Mavimbela was employed at Middelburg, which is a large farming and industrial town in the South African province of Mpumalanga. Nkambule said he was asked by Mavimbela to accompany him using his (Nkambule) car, a Toyota Corolla Saloon sedan. He said they drove all the way from Mahlangatsha to Mpuluzi where there was an informal crossing point. This is where Mavimbela had intended to cross over into South Africa. Nkambule highlighted that the deceased had been using the informal crossing point for a very long time. He said when coming to Eswatini, the deceased would leave his car at the borderline and take it when returning to South Africa. Nkambule said while driving in a thicket towards the informal crossing point, they heard something strike the roof of the car.

He said he stopped the car to check what was happening. He explained that at first, they assumed it might have been an animal which fell from the trees. Nkambule stated that as they stopped, they heard a gunshot coming from behind the car.  He said just at that moment, two soldiers emerged from the thicket and ordered them to get out of the car. Nkambule said just after the soldiers had emerged, he noticed that Mavimbela had been shot in the head. Nkambule said he then stepped out of the car and started questioning the soldiers why they were shooting at them. He said instead of responding, the soldiers opened the car and searched it. They only found Mavimbela’s bags. Nkambule said he continued to exchange words with the soldiers as he was asking them why they were shooting at them and the soldiers allegedly hurled insults at him instead.

He further narrated that just at that moment, he heard one of the soldiers making a phone call to someone he believed to be their senior.  He added that the soldier had put the phone on loud speaker. He added that the soldier was heard reporting to the other person on the other end of the call that a person had been shot. During the conversation, the soldier on the other side was informed that there were two people who were travelling in the car. Nkambule narrated that he allegedly heard the one responding ordering the soldiers to shoot him dead as well in order to conceal evidence. “I became so terrified,” he said. Nkambule said upon ending the call, the soldiers ordered him to sit a few metres away from the car and not face them. “I said a short prayer because I thought they wanted to shoot me from behind in order to make it look like I was running away,” said Nkambule.

He said he sat there for a few minutes while the soldiers were talking and Mavimbela was bleeding inside the car. He said at that moment, more soldiers arrived in an Isuzu bakkie. Nkambule alleged that the soldiers then ordered him to come back to them and they allegedly forced him to lie on the ground and assaulted him with sticks. He alleged that the soldiers forced him to lie on the ground with his head under the van. He stated that he was assaulted on his buttocks. Nkambule said they then ordered him to drive to their camp situated just nearby the scene. He added that while heading to the camp, the soldiers escorted him.

He said upon arrival at the camp, they found some police officers already there, who introduced themselves and told him that they were from Bhunya Police Station. Nkambule stated that the police then ordered him to drive Mavimbela to Mankayane Government Hospital. He said they escorted him to the hospital. Nkambule said doctors admitted Mavimbela while he (Nkambule) was treated and discharged for the assault wounds. He said on Sunday, they received a report that Mvimbela had passed on. The late Mavimbela’s elder brother, Isaac, confirmed the news. He confirmed that Nkambule had narrated to them as a family about the circumstances that led to his brother’s demise.


Isaac said as of yesterday, they were still awaiting a call from the hospital informing them about the date when a post-mortem would be conducted in order to establish how his brother died. He told this publication that the post-mortem was actually supposed to be conducted yesterday, but they were informed that a pathologist was currently not available, hence they had to wait. He said the doctors who attended his brother upon arrival at the hospital on Friday had informed them that preliminary findings indicated that his brother succumbed to a gunshot wound to the head. Isaac said as a family, they were still devastated about what befell them, because they had not been told the reason why the soldiers had to shot the deceased. “We still want answers as to why my brother had to die at the hands of the armed forces,” he said. Isaac lamented on the continuing brutality by armed forces towards citizens.

We’re investigating - REPS

MBABANE – The Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) says the matter of a man who was shot at Mpuluzi on Friday last week is being investigated.

Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Phindile Vilakati confirmed knowledge of the matter and stated that it was being investigated by the police. Vilakati’s comment was brought about by the fact that Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF) Public Affairs Officer 2nd Lieutenant Tengetile Khumalo had referred this reporter to the police for a comment. “Matters handed over to the relevant enforcement by the establishment are outside the ambit of the office of the public affairs. Kindly contact the pertinent law enforcement agency in this regard (REPS),” said Khumalo.


Meanwhile, it was reported in the media yesterday that on Sunday night, soldiers shot a man who was wanted by the police in connection with a string of robberies. It was reported that the man was shot while near Sandlane Border Post. On February 4, our sister publication, the Eswatini News, reported that near Matsamo Border Gate, on the South African (SA) side, earlier last month soldiers allegedly jumped the borderline into that country to carry out an operation against alleged robbers. It was alleged that the local soldiers jumped into the SA borderline through a fencing gap normally used by border jumpers at the informal crossing point. The place where the border jumpers cross is only a few metres from the official border gate at Matsamo.

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