LOBAMBA :Yet another life has been lost due to the army’s brutality.
Dumsile Simelane, a 54 year old woman of Luve was attacked by members of the Umbutfo Eswatini Defense Force (UEDF) on the evening of 30th June 2021 at her rented flat in Lobamba, she was severely beaten and later succumbed to her injuries on 23 July 2021,a few weeks after the attack.
Speaking to this Swaziland News, a close relative to Dumsile disclosed that military officers gathered around the deceased’s flat and found her chatting with friends. Her friends ran away in fear for their lives and she just sat there helplessly. Considering the manner in which her friends ran, the soldiers assumed that they were planning on ‘kungahlwa kwenile’. She was severely beaten and was never given a chance to explain and she could not go to Hospital due to financial challenges.
“After the injuries, we did not take her to Hospital, we only gave her painkillers and some soothing treatment. Little did we know that, the head injuries she sustained were going to complicate her health, she then developed blood clots which caused her blood flow to decrease later leading to her death a few weeks later”, said a very emotional relative .
On or around 29 June 2021, King Mswati unleashed his army on unarmed citizens who were calling for democratic reforms , pro-democracy groups in eSwatini have confirmed that over 70 people were dead and hundreds of them were injured and missing. Dumsile is one of the latest victims of the massacre, her funeral had to be postponed for at least 24 hours due to financial challenges. In eSwatini 70 % of the population lives in poverty while the King and his family lived in opulence.
When reached for comments, Tengetile Khumalo the eSwatini army’s spokesperson said she would have to wait for a formal report before making a comment on the matter.
“One would have to await a formal detailed report with regard to the unfortunate alleged incident, which would assist in ascertaining the veracity of the allegations, lf at all, the UEDF is involved. It would therefore, be near impossible and futile to comment from an uninformed position at the moment, as mentioned earlier on that such allegations, have not reached my office, nor has the battalion in charge of the operational area forwarded a report to that effect”, said the army Spokesperson.
On or around 3 July, 2021, Princess Sikhanyiso ,the Minister of Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) told the BBC that there were foreign mercenaries that were killing people in eSwatini. Contrary to that, on 16 July, 2021, the King when addressing the Nation during a sibaya gathering said the protesters killed each other.
Brian Sangweni, the Spokesperosn of the People’s United Democrcatic Movement (PUDEMO) expressed his sincere condolences to the family and further condemned the behavior of the army.
“That is what we call state terrorism and ought to be punishable. We therefore mince no words when we say the executors of such malefic acts against the people will answer one day. As families continue to experience invasion and harassment in their homesteads by the state security agencies, let them try to defend themselves with everything they have. They do not deserve to lose dignity and their lives in this manner”, the PUDEMO Spokesperson said.
Sakhile Dlamini, the Communications officer of the Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA) said the state of perpetual fear and violence experienced by emaSwati has led to deep distrust in the forces and an overall lack of security and safety.
“We have heard of so many reports of people that have lost their lives or have witnessed the abuse in the form of beatings, shootings, and killings of friends and relatives, while others are still praying for the recovery of their loved ones who have been hospitalized. The organization has dedicated a social worker who is ready to provide psychosocial support and services. SWAGAA also offers assistance to children that have been arrested during this time in relation to the political unrest and we are offering legal assistance and support services, we encourage emaSwati to use our toll-free line 951 for help”, she said.
The late Dumsile Simelane