There are reports of disturbances in jails in Swaziland and inmates are accused of brutality against warders.
It is claimed that new inmates have formed gangs and warders from jails across the kingdom have been moved to two institutions at Sidwashini and Bhalekane to increase security.
One inmate at Bhalekane has asked a court to move him for his own safety.
There have been at least two incidents where inmates rioted because they were served with poor food. This was at Sidwashini and Bhalekane. At Sidwashini, media in Swaziland report, untrained warders were sent in to help restore peace. At Bhalekane one warder had to be taken to hospital after an alleged attack.
His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS), Commissioner General Isaiah Mzuthini Ntshangase told the Sunday Observer (7 January 2018) the officer was trying to serve breakfast to the inmates when they kicked the tray down and assaulted him on the head with an enamel dish.
The newspaper reported Ntshangase saying, ‘The officer was severely injured and had to be taken to hospital. All this is part of the unlawful activities that the gang members are currently engaging in. One wonders why this officer was assaulted because he had not even provoked the inmates; he was innocently serving them breakfast and they pounced on him.’
He said members of gangs at Bhalekane vandalised property including beds to make handmade weapons to attack warders.
The Swazi Observer said on Wednesday (10 January 2018) there were ‘widespread reports of brutality’. It said security had been ‘beefed up’ in facilities, ‘where such acts of violence are rife’.
The newspaper said one inmate through his lawyers was asking the courts to transfer him to another correctional facility. It said, ‘The inmate claims he no longer feels safe at Bhalekane and the matter is pending in court.’
It said warders stationed in institutions around the kingdom such as Nhlangano and Big Bend had now transferred to increase security at Sidwashini and Bhalekane.
Meanwhile, five inmates who are believed to be part of the controversial gang known as the 26s have been charged with common assault after they allegedly assaulted another inmate at Zakhele remand centre. They allegedly beat him with fists and kicked him before stabbing him with a toothbrush.
They appeared at Manzini Magistrate’s Court where they said they had been denied the opportunity to get a lawyer. They were remanded back into custody.
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