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I DON’T KNOW WHY COPS WANTED ME DEAD- SWALIMO MAN

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MBABANE – The Swaziland Liberation Movement (SWALIMO) member, Wonder Gama, who alleges to have been attacked and burnt by the police, says he does not know why they wanted to kill him.

Gama is the man who had been trending on social media with a burnt face over the weekend, alleging to have been attacked by the police, who allegedly first doused him with petrol on the face and then threw a burning piece of paper on him, resulting in him catching fire. In an interview with this publication yesterday, Gama narrated his story on what transpired on that fateful night of April 3, 2023. Prior to the interview, Gama met with his fellow party members at the Commercial Centre. The SWALIMO members met with Gama to give him moral support following the incident that befell him.

Stopped

He narrated that he was heading home from a bar when armed men travelling in a blue double cab, with foreign registration numbers, stopped him. He stated that they stopped him by the traffic lights near Kia Motors. Gama said the armed men, who were wearing balaclavas, stopped him while driving towards the Mbabane Government Hospital from the city centre. He narrated that the men drove their car towards his, forcing him to stop. He said they asked him where he was going in the middle of the night and he informed them that he was going home. Gama, who is also a popular mechanic in Mbabane, said he tried to pull down his window manually and while doing so, one of the men doused him with petrol on the face, which further reached his chest and arms and some parts of his car.

He narrated that while doing that, the other men who were pointing him with guns hurled insults at him. He said at that moment, another man threw a burning piece of paper on him and because he had been doused with petrol, he quickly caught the fire. He said the men drove off and left him there. Gama narrated that as his face and body was burning, he stepped out of the car and took off his jacket and used it to put out the fire on his face and arms.

Lucky

The SWALIMO member said he was lucky that he was able to put out the flames on his own, but he had already been burnt on the face, part of his chest and part of his hands and arms.
He said after that, he quickly went to put out the small flame that was on his car door. He said he then drove to Msunduza where he went to another bar and rushed to the restroom and tried to put some water on his face and arms. Gama said at first, people who were around that bar shunned him and later noticed that he had been injured and they assisted him to go to hospital. The mechanic narrated that it was not the first time the armed men driving in a blue double cab with foreign registration plates had stopped him. He said on a Friday of March 31, the same car had stopped him.

Gama narrated that on this day, the armed men, who were wearing all black and balaclavas, stopped him and forced him out of his car. He said they forced him to lie on the ground and not to look at them. He narrated that there were five of them and they were all armed with rifles. Gama said at first, one of them slapped him on the face and pulled him down, forcing him to lie facing downward. He narrated that another put his foot on his back, pressing him down. Gama said at that time, the others were busy searching his car, while insulting him as well. He said they searched his car and found some bottles of alcoholic beverages. He said one of them shouted in vernacular saying; “Uyanatsa tsine sisemsebenti.” He stated that while searching his car and hurling insults at him, he identified one of the men’s voice and shouted towards them, calling the man he had identified through his voice by name. He said unfortunately they ignored him and continued searching his car. Gama alleged that one of them opened his car’s trunk and found his toolbox and one of the men questioned him about the toolbox.  

Mechanic

Gama said another one responded by informing the others that the reason he (Gama) was caring a toolbox was because he was a mechanic. He said the men then drove off, leaving him lying on the ground. When asked if he reported the matter to the police, the SWALIMO member said since he was traumatised by the near death experience, he did not know what to do hence he did not think of reporting the matter to the police.  He said now that he had been advised to open a case with the police, he would do so soon. When sought for comment, Deputy Police Information and Communications Officer Inspector Nosipho Mnguni said there was no record of anyone who was burnt by the police. Mnguni said anyone who had such incident should go and open a case with the police and the matter would be taken from there once reported.

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