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MANZINI – “I was kidnapped and tortured for hours, before being dumped in a forest.”

These were serious allegations by former Swaziland Liberation Movement (SWALIMO) member Brian Sihlongonyane. He alleged that he was subjected to torture at the hands of five men, whom he was convinced were members of the Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF). He alleged that the men were  armed with rifles and took him to an undisclosed location where they took turns subjecting him to physical  torture using different techniques.  

Speaking to Eswatini News from his bed at home, where he is currently recuperating from the visible injuries, he narrated his ordeal.“I was at my home area  Mang-waneni, walking to my house, after a long day spent at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in Mbabane, where I had been part of those who went to deliver a petition, last Wednesday, on April 12. I was leading a small group of political activists to deliver the petition at the headquarters.What really stands out for me after all this, is that part of the contents of the petition, included a call to the UN to influence the Eswatini Government to stop the violence perpetrated against innocent emaSwati, seeking a different political dispensation from Tinkhundla,” said Sihlongonyane, in-between deep breaths as he would gasp for air, as he said he was still in severe pain. Sihlongonyane said he was now part of the organising committee within the Multi-Stakeholder Forum (MSF).


Narrating the events that led to the alleged assault, Sihlongonyane said he was at Mangwaneni walking towards home when an X3 BMW SUV car, allegedly pulled up next to him at high speed near the newly-constructed overhead bridge and five men clad in what he described as army camouflage, grabbed him and forced him into the car .

“I tried to free myself in the car but I was pinned down and one of them hit me with the butt of a gun and I must have lost consciousness, as the next thing I remember was waking up in a forest I could not recognise,” alleged Sihlongonyane. The political activist alleged that he was severely assaulted as the men took turns and punched, kicked and whipped him until he lost consciousness again. Asked if they uttered any words during the assault, Sihlongonyane shared that he was mostly insulted  and called derogatory names that cannot be repeated.

“All sorts of insults were hurled at me, but mainly they questioned me on the whereabouts of firearms, which they seemed convinced I knew about. Asking where I had hidden them.  They further asked me about the whereabouts of one of the political party leaders,” he alleged. Sihlongonyane said he told them he had no idea what they were talking about but the assault continued. “ To date, I  cannot identify  those five men as they made sure that I did not get a good  look at them in-between beatings,” he added. When asked by this publication on how he came to the conclusion that these were officers from the UEDF, he alleged that the five men were all clad in full army attire, which to him looked exactly like that of the law enforcement entity.


“All five of them were armed with service rifles as well and they used them in assaulting me,” alleged Sihlongonyane.“They made me to roll down while at the same time kicking me with their heavy boots all over my body and used a sjambok  to also whip  me in the process,” he alleged. It is worth noting that Eswatini remains a signatory through accession of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of New York, 10 December 1984. Eswatini Accession signatory has been penned since March 26, 2004 pending the other steps that include succession and rectification. The convention against torture,  requires member states to take effective measures to prevent torture in any territory under their jurisdiction, and forbids member states from transporting people to any country where there is reason to believe they will be tortured.

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