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Wednesday, 30 June 2010

RURAL RAIDS ON FREEDOM ACTIVISTS

Swazi police have intensified their raids against pro-democracy activists in Swaziland.


This follows previous raids on members of the Peoples’ United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), its youth wing, SWAYOCO, the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations (SCCCO), the Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC), the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU), Swaziland Ex-Mineworkers Association, (SEMA) the Foundation for Socio-Economic Justice (FSEJ) and the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS).


The latest raids have struck in the deep rural poverty stricken Hluti-Lavumisa area.


The following is the latest news from Swaziland.


SOURCE


Following strict orders to strangle all democracy activists and boosted by the recent demands by the illegally-appointed Prime minister of Swaziland, Barnabas Dlamini to make arrests on the recent bombings that have shocked Swaziland, the Swazi police have intensified their raids on homes of PUDEMO leaders. Over the past weekend (26 – 27 June 2010) the raids were taken into the deep rural poverty stricken Hluti-Lavumisa area, the home area of PUDEMO Deputy President Skhumbuzo Phakathi. A number of homes were raided in the area.

Skhumbuzo Phakathi: the police arrived in a truck load armed to the teeth. They were in possession of a search warrant which said they were looking for bombs, seditious material and bomb making material and anything with terrorist links. Phakathi was not at home as he is based in South Africa. The police interrogated his father who told them he does not know where his sons are.

The police were also looking for Sizwesandile Phakathi the younger brother of the Deputy President who is former Publicity Secretary of SWAYOCO and current President of the South African Students Union (SAUS) and National Executive Committee member of SASCO. He was also not at home as he has been in exile since 1998.

Zweli Nxumalo: The police proceeded to the home of Zweli Nxumalo former Deputy President of the Swaziland Nurses Union which is situated five km from Phakathi’s home.. They also searched every house, in the process intimidating and harassing his mother. They said they were looking for guns and bombs. They found nothing illegal and Zweli was out
with his wife.

Norman Xaba: Again they did not find him at home but continued to search the houses and harassed his sisters Sbongile and Nombuso. Xaba is currently out on bail for being arrested for wearing a PUDEMO t-shirt last year. On several occasions they threatened that they will kill him. On a number of occasions he has been receiving death threats on his mobile phone. Xaba is the Deputy Chairperson of the rural Shiselweni region of PUDEMO.


Xolani Sbiya: The police raided the home which is also the home of the local induna (headman). They harassed his mother and took her to the Hluti police station where she was interrogated for over three hours on the activities of her son in SWAYOCO and in connection with the bombings. At the time of the raid Xolani was away. The police informed the sickly old woman that if she does not cooperate with them they will arrest her for her sons’ sins. She refused to cooperate.


Pastor Gadlaza Phakathi: The pastor was raided for allegations that he is harbouring PUDEMO activists. At the time of the raid he was out doing church work. At home the police harassed his blind mother telling her that his son will soon be in heaven.


Kholekile Macu: The PUDEMO women’s league executive in the Hluti area was woken up by loud bangs on her door. Her home was completely surrounded by heavily armed police. They searched every house and even the pit toilets. They accuse her and her husband of being ‘terrorists’ and keeping PUDEMO weapons. The police threatened the crippled Bheki Macu, the husband that if he continued with belonging to PUDEMO they will cut his other leg. They found nothing.


Bongani Ndzinisa: Who is also an official of the union SPRAWU His whole family was threatened that if he does not stop his association with PUDEMO everyone in the family will be killed. He was also summoned to the chief’s home. The induna promised to deal with the matter as Bongani is a well known man in the area and is a respected leader of the church.


Many other homes were raided in the Lavumisa area which links with the eastern sugar belt of Swaziland. The Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC) condemns this continued harassment of the people of Swaziland. We call on the international community to condemn Swaziland continued violation of human rights. We will continue to work with the pro democracy forces of Swaziland to bring change in that country.

As it stands now, anyone who will be arrested will not get bail as the Swazi government is working to make into law detention without trial.

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