The police were trying to question a man who they saw among a crowd of children and their parents and teachers. Taking no account of the danger the police fired shots into the air, causing widespread panic.
The incident happened yesterday (26 January 2010) at Mqolo Primary School in Swaziland’s capital, Mbabane, shortly after the morning assembly had dispersed. Three police officers are reported to have invaded the school yard. The suspect ran away through the crowd of parents, teachers and pupils.
The police fired several warning shots in the air but the man escaped.
The Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, reported, ‘Terrified parents and teachers were all over the place searching for the children who were now all over the place after the shots had been fired.’
The school principal, Archie Thwala, had to call the pupils to the assembly where it was confirmed that none had been hurt in the process.
Thwala said, ‘I am not sure whether all the children will come to school tomorrow, especially the first graders who are starting school for the very first time.
‘They may think school is a dangerous place to be in, after their ordeal with the police and thug.’