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MBABANE – Government is not happy with countries that harbour elements that plot against the Kingdom of Eswatini.

As the faces behind the formation of terrorists and military bandits such as the Solidarity Forces were unmasked, government said it would have to engage intensely to establish the sources of their support. This was said by Alpheous Nxumalo, the Government Spokesperson, in a statement. Nxumalo said government had questions on ‘where are they being given sanctuary and who is abating their criminal military strikes in the country?’ “This and many questions must be asked. As a country, we have key and strategic national interest to which we must commit to protect, defend and to advance. As a country, we can no longer afford to procrastinate,” the government press secretary said.

He stated that the Kingdom of Eswatini still noted with deep concern about those neighbouring States that were fermenting and breeding conflicts in the country. He said it was a pity that they allowed their soil and other infrastructure to be used as conduits to launch attacks against the country and the population at large. He did not mention the name of the countries. It is understood that most of the members of the Solidarity Forces are in South Africa. Nxumalo said government continued to look at all possible options on the table. He said they looked at all the possible options, not only with a view to inform the kingdom’s diplomatic and strategic friends and partners around the globe of this unprovoked threat, but also to mobilise the necessary resources to neutralise this aggression against the country.

He pointed out that the biggest threat and challenge posed by bigger States to smaller ones was, perhaps, the failure to understand that when it came to defending the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of countries, the size of population, economy or geography did not count for anything. “They usually and rightfully say that it is not the size of the dog in the fight, but it is the size of the fight in the dog,” he said. Nxumalo stated that it was not necessarily a matter of physical size, but rather of mental or psychological size or attitude.


“Every nation, State, small or big; will always pay the ultimate price in defence of the national elements which constitutes a State. Unfortunately, the equation has always remained the same here as the aggression of one State against another will lead to drastic measures of resistance through all means short of war,” he said. He said if all those means tended to fail, States, big or small, would resort to ultimate argument for peace, which is war itself. He said one dies for a nation and people die for the King and they also sacrifice their lives for the kingship. “If you don’t believe me, take a quick glance at the history of the formative stages of this nation; then you will know better,” the government press secretary said. He said it was also on this score that certain emaSwati like him were anticipating that the national security officers who died, in fact, executed by ‘military bandits’, while they were on the line of duty, were to be recognised and celebrated in a particular special way during the forthcoming 55/55 double national celebrations.

His Majesty the King will celebrate his 55th birthday this year. The nation will join him in celebrating the 55th Independence Anniversary. The country attained independence from the British in 1968. Eswatini News reported yesterday about the commander of the Swaziland International Solidarity Forces (SISF) who unveiled himself on Thursday night. The Swaziland Democratic News, a Facebook news platform, posted a video in which ‘the commander’ unmasked himself.  His video was finally aired live on the publication’s Facebook page on Friday morning. While introducing himself, he did not reveal his name. He only introduced himself as the commander. Even though people were able to see him, his face was still not clearly recognisable due to poor picture quality.

However, the Eswatini News team identified him as ex-police officer Thabo Kunene. Kunene was a lead investigator for the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) and cracked high profile cases such as the Evukuzenzele E2 million robbery case during his time as an officer. He made a name for himself while serving the country in Siteki as an officer. It must be said that the identity of ‘the commander’ was first revealed by the investigative reporters of the Times SUNDAY on January 29, 2023. The publication reported that Kunene, an ex-cop, was linked to the SISF. At the time it was not stated what role Kunene played within SISF, but the publication was able to bring compelling evidence of pictures, showing the link between him and the underground group.

What was a mere link based on leaked pictures of six camouflage-clad members of the then underground group, revealed that Kunene, as he appeared on Thursday, was actually the voice behind ‘the commander’. Kunene confirmed the speculation that he was linked to SISF. “Lokhulumako ngu commander,” he said, meaning ‘the one who is speaking is the commander. Kunene was clad in a military camouflage gear. His appearance established that indeed, Kunene was a member of the group which has been linked to several terrorist activities around the country. According to his own declaration, he was the man behind the command to carry out such acts.


In his address, Kunene rebuked those calling his Solidarity Forces terrorists and said the SISF was not a terrorist group. He said the SISF was a group of freedom fighters who wanted political change in the country. He said he had been hearing people referring to them as terrorists, but warned against the use of the term. “We are freedom fighters. We are not owned by anyone,” he said. He said some people called them hit men and claimed that they were being paid for engaging in the activities. Kunene refuted the statement, adding that they were not paid, hired or controlled by any person or group. He said no amount of money was worth his life or that of his ‘soldiers’ even if they could mention a figure.

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