A Swazi democrat leader was arrested by state police yesterday and tortured for information.
And Swaziland police has warned that others will face the same treatment if they dare to speak out against the undemocratic regime in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
Wandile Dludlu, President of the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO), was arrested at the South African border post at Ngwenya during a planned blockade by progressive forces of South Africa and Swaziland to draw attention to the lack of democracy in Swaziland.
Swazi police arrested and tortured Dludlu because they believed he knew where guns, explosives and ‘war missiles’ were being stored. According to a report in the Swazi News today (5 September 2009) these were to be used ‘in an operation to assassinate the country’s influential politicians and other high ranking members of royalty’.
Police claim attacks were planned for sometime during September and say Dludlu was suspected of being a mastermind and ‘was planning the whole operation’.
Police claims are suspicious since the police admit that they at first arrested Dludlu at the border post where he was trying to enter following a private trip to South Africa. At first the police tried to arrest him for uttering seditious remarks at the border as part of the border protests.
When they failed to stand up this accusation with evidence, the police made the fresh accusation of masterminding assassination plots.
Police took Dludlu to a police station at Mhlambanyatsi in a rural area and there tortured him for information, the Swazi News reports. With no knowledge of what the police were talking about, Dludlu pleaded his innocence but in vain.
‘He was told that what follows next for him is death. I think he is pleased to be alive as at one time one police officer while in the forest suggested that he be killed and that no one will know or find him,’ a source told the Swazi News.
Dludlu later confirmed to the newspaper that he had given out names to the police of people who were marked out for assassination and admit knowledge of guns and explosives.
Dludlu said he had to do this to save his life.
Vusi Masuku, police spokesperson later told the Swazi News, ‘One may also sound some words of advice to some citizens of this country to desist from the habit of colluding with foreign nationals with intent to disturb peace and undermine the economy of the country.
‘Members of the law enforcement agencies have the duty to question and advise any person who might be infringing an existing legal principle,’ said Masuku.
The Swazi News reports that an intensive search by senior police to find the people behind the planned assignations is ongoing.
At the time of compiling this report police have not claimed to have found any weapons.