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Monday, 17 February 2014

SWAZI POLICE INVESTIGATE OWN KILLINGS

Swaziland’s Police Commissioner has promised an investigation into police shootings after six people were killed in separate incidents in the past three months.

Police Commissioner Isaac Magagula told local media the police and the Director of Public Prosecutions would be the investigators.

The announcement came after an unarmed man was shot dead in cold blood on a public bus by a plain clothed police officer. Police later said the man had stolen copper wire before boarding the bus.

The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, reported Magagula said the investigation would ascertain whether police had broken any law.

The newspaper reported, ‘Since December [2013], police have shot and killed six suspects in different incidents in the country. The latest case is that of a passenger who was shot dead by a plain clothes police officer in a bus which was from Siteki.

‘On December 12, police shot and killed two suspects in the Built It heist which occurred last year. In January, the police shot and killed one suspect in a dramatic car chase with theft suspects at Ngogola. Also in the same month, two suspects, who were wanted for a string of robberies, were shot and killed by the police.’

Observers of Swaziland have for a number of years identified a shoot-to-kill policy by police and armed forces in the kingdom. In the past the Swazi Police have claimed they have investigated killings, but no officer has ever been prosecuted. No independent inquiry has ever been held into police killings.

In 2010, following a spate of police shootings, the commission chair Rev. David Matse of the Swaziland Human Rights and Public Administration Commission pleaded with the police and army to ‘consider the law before shooting at suspects’.

He said even if a person is escaping from lawful custody, other means of arresting that person can be attempted before the suspect’s life is considered expendable.

‘When it has been necessary to take life, let there be proof that all other remedies were exhausted and that there was no other alternative,’ he said.

See also

SWAZI POLICE SHOOT-TO-KILL ON BUS
SWAZI POLICE SHOOT-TO-KILL
POLICE SHOOT TWO STUDENTS IN HEAD
POLICE SHOOT INNOCENT BYSTANDER
SWAZI GUN COPS ENDANGER CHILDREN

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