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Friday, 12 May 2017

POLICE PATROL SWAZI VARSITY CAMPUS

Police have been stationed at a university campus in Swaziland ahead of the end-of-year examination in what has been called an act of intimidation.

This is not the first time police have been onto University of Swaziland (UNISWA) campus.

The latest deployment is at the UNISWA Luyengo campus. According to the Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, about 20 officers were stationed around the campus, including at the main gate. It reported, ‘The heavy presence of the officers left the students, who are preparing for the upcoming examination, worried and intimidated.’

Police took to the campus after students protested against a lecturer over allegations of abusive treatment and victimisation by the academic. Local media reported more than 700 students protested and the lecturer’s car was overturned. 

It is now commonplace for police to intervene in student protests in Swaziland, where King Mswati III rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

In February 2017 police warning gunshots as students protested about late payment of their allowances. It happened after UNISWA students tried to march with a petition to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, following a meeting on the Kwaluseni campus.

Media reported armed military police from the Operational Support Services intercepted the students who were walking down the road near the Mahhala shopping complex and fired warning shots.

The Times of Swaziland reported the students want to restore the 60 percent of allowances that was slashed after the implementation of a scholarship policy during the 2011/2012 academic year.

In February 2016, Swazi security forces attacked students at the UNISWA Kwaluseni campus by driving an armoured troop carrier at speed into a crowd, injuring one so badly her back was broken. Students had been protesting and boycotting classes to protest about delays in registration.

The assault was one of many violent attacks on university students by police and security forces dating back a number of years.

In November 2013, police raided dormitories and dragged students from their rooms. Later they beat up the students at local police stations. Students had wanted the start of examinations postponed. Armed police stood guard outside examination halls as the UNISWA Administration attempted to hold the exams.

In August 2012, two students were shot in the head at close range with rubber bullets, during a dispute about the number of scholarships awarded by the government. Reports from the Centre for Human Rights and Development, Swaziland said several other students were injured by police batons and kicks.

In February 2012, police fired teargas at students from Swaziland College of Technology (SCOT) who boycotted classes after the Swazi Government did not pay them their allowances.

In November 2011, armed police attacked students at the recently-opened private Limkokwing University. The Swazi Observer said Limkokwing students reported that police ‘attacked them unprovoked as they were not armed’.

The newspaper added, ‘During a visit to the institution about 10 armed officers were found standing guard by the gate’. The Observer said police fired as they tried to disperse the students. 

In January 2010, Swaziland Police reportedly fired bullets at protesting university students, injuring two of them. They denied it and said they ‘only’ fired teargas. Students from UNISWA had attempted to march through the kingdom’s capital, Mbabane, to call for an increase in their allowances.

See also

STUDENTS UNDER SIEGE BY ARMED POLICE
POLICE FLEE ROOMS AS POLICE ATTACK
BOYCOTTING STUDENTS CLOSE UNIVERSITY
POLICE SHOOT TWO STUDENTS IN HEAD
ARMED POLICE STOP STUDENTS PROTEST
SWAZILAND STUDENT UNREST SPREADS
STUDENTS UNDER FIRE FROM POLICE
SWAZI STUDENTS BEATEN TO PULP
SWAZILAND POLICE ‘SHOOT STUDENTS’
http://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2010/01/swazi-land-police-shoot-students.html

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