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303 SWAZIS DISAPPEAR WITHOUT TRACE

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MANZINI – Monica Zwane, whose 12 year-old grandson was reported missing on January 24, 2013 has lost all hope of finding him.


Khanyakwezwe Zwane was last seen on the morning he disappeared. The grieving 70-year-old Monica says she last saw him standing next to an outside toilet.
“The first place we looked for was the toilet but we did not find him there,” said Monica.


Monica said she had since given up on looking for her grandson.
She also revealed she went to the Manzini Police station where she first reported the incident requesting they return her grandson’s photo.
Officers at the police station allegedly told her the photo had been forwarded to Mbabane.
Inspector Khulani Mamba was asked about the photo but he said it is not likely that the photo is at the head office.


He said police scanned photos of missing people immediately after receiving them and then upload them on the website.
Zwane also complained that police only helped her for the first three days when her grandson disappeared.
“I never heard from them again,” said Zwane. She said police should do more to ensure that names of missing children are made available to the national radio station as soon as they are reported missing.


“I had to pay the radio station so they could announce that my grandson was missing,” she said.
She said police should have instead gone to the radio station to make the announcement as soon as they were informed.
Superintendent Wendy Hleta, the Police Public Relations Officer (PRO), confirmed in a previous interview that Khanyakwezwe had been reported missing. Monica says it is hard for her to believe that her grandson is still alive as he went missing in January.
“This is over six months. There is no way he can be alive,” she said.


She said she lost hope after hearing allegations on how other children were killed and their body parts removed.
“I fear the same may have happened to him,” she said. Monica said police should do more to ensure that children especially are protected from being abducted and killed.
“My grandson used to love cars. Maybe he was given a lift and abducted just like that,” she said. The police say a link exists between the high number of missing persons and the belief in superstition. This is contained in a report compiled by the Royal Swaziland Police (RSP) during the year 2012.
A total of 484 people were reported missing in 2011 alone, translating to at least one person missing each day of the year. The report was compiled for the years, 2009, 2010 and 2011 with each having its own statistics.


It also showed that during the year 2011, the number of missing people had doubled compared to the previous year.
The police were asked to explain the sudden increase in 2011 but they did not respond to a questionnaire sent.
In the report, police further revealed that the most targeted were albinos.
Out of the 484 people reported missing in 2011, at least 159 were not found.
Some of the missing people were located but found dead.


The report further showed that an average of 32 per cent of people reported missing during the period, 2009 to 2011 had not been found.
This translates to about 303 people. Women and children were the most targeted according to the report.
Wikipedia, an online encyclopaedia says Swaziland has a considerable number of missing persons.
It further reported that some missing people were killed for medicinal purpose due to certain ritual beliefs.


The online report said the missing people were targeted mainly for their body parts which were used to create medicinal concoctions.
It also reported that perpetrators of such crime were people of diverse background including those of high social status.  “The victim, mainly a child or elderly person, is often purchased via a transaction involving a nominal amount of money,” the report states.


The victim often had to be identified for murder to create the medicine accordingly reads the online reports.
Superintendant Wendy Hleta was reached for comment on missing persons. Hleta acknowledged that police had many cases of missing persons.
She, however, police were currently investigating concerns that certain mortuaries were allegedly selling body parts.
Hleta said commenting on the issue would result in relatives of missing people panicking. She asked for more time to allow police to investigate selling of human body parts allegations.


A questionnaire was then later forwarded to her. She was, however, not available later when called but her Deputy, Inspector Khulani Mamba answered her phone. The same questionnaire was also forwarded to Mamba.
Mamba said the issue of missing people was very sensitive adding that he would have to consult. He had not responded to the questionnaire when this story was compiled.

 

... high number of missing kids

MBABANE – Relevant stakeholders are not doing enough to reduce the number of missing people.
Dumisani Mnisi, the director at Save the Children, said this during an interview.


Mnisi said the high figure was disappointing as it showed that the rights of children were violated.


ensuring


He said this also showed that relevant stake holders responsible for ensuring children were safe were not doing enough.
Mnisi said children were the most affected as they were vulnerable.
He said it was important that more should be done to protect children from missing as they cannot defend themselves.
“We have lost ground as an organisation,” said Mnisi.


He said statistics prior to the elections were disturbing as some of the children who were reported missing had still not been found.
Mnisi said the environment was generally not safe for children as they could be abducted at any time.
He said although the high number of missing children was a global trend, it was also prevalent in Swaziland.
Mnisi said the country has not done much to sensitise people against the high number of missing children.


He said organisations and individuals should be publicly seen to condemn abduction and kidnapping of people, especially children.
He said stake holders such as police and the task force on human trafficking can play a major role in reducing the number of missing persons.
“We as an organisation should also be ashamed,” said Mnini.
He further said even society also had a part to play but that they were not seen to be vigilant towards locating missing children.
Mnisi said some of the abductions were fuelled by ritual practices such that some of the children are never found.


Sicelo Dlamini, chairperson of the task force in human trafficking acknowledged that some missing people may have been trafficked.
Swaziland is classified as ‘Tier II’ region by the US department of state.
Tier II countries are those whose governments do not fully comply with the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act (PVRA) minimum standard.
This also includes those countries making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.
Dlamini said missing persons should not be confused with trafficked people.
However, he said some who were reported missing may have been trafficked.
“We can only prove that once a case has been reported,” said Dlamini.
He further said the right people to respond on issues of missing persons were the police.


contributed


Inspector Khulani Mamba, the Deputy Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Police, said relatives of missing persons contributed to the high statistics.
He said relatives had a duty to inform police once they located their missing relatives.


Mamba said lack of communication between relatives of missing people and the police contributed to the high figures in the statistics.
He said family members did not call police to inform them that the relatives had been located.


“Some of the missing people had already been found but the police are not always informed by relatives,” said Mamba.
He said people should report missing persons immediately as well as when they are found. However, normally, when people report missing relatives, the police ask them to wait for at least 48 hours before a search can start.


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