A newspaper in Swaziland fears that fully-armed police are training to be ready for a civilian uprising.
The Times Sunday reported yesterday (27 March 2011) that members of the Operational Support Service Unit (OSSU), the paramilitary police wing, are training to counter riots.
They are using methods similar to those of the army, the newspaper said.
The Times Sunday reported, ‘In other countries, when the army goes astray or plots to overthrow the government, the riot police squad is the one expected to contain the soldiers.’
The newspaper reminded its readers that a Facebook group is coordinating an ‘uprising’ to take place on 12 April 2011. The Swazi Government is taking the threat of the uprising seriously, it reported.
The Times Sunday said that in the past week fully-armed riot police were spotted training on public roads and in bushes.
‘This past week, vehicles had to give way to allow a battalion of police officers, armed with rifles, to march uniformly on one lane of Malindza-Mpaka road,’ it said.
‘Holding the rifles tight and taking instructions from a police trainer, their march covered a distance of about three kilometres. A truck ferried them to a start-up point, three kilometres away. The truck then returned to a spot near Malindza High School, which was their end point. They had to march from where they alighted from the truck to the spot near the high school.’
The newspaper said a local resident saw the riot police ‘rolling on the ground and sprinting towards the bushes’.
He added, ‘I saw them once training here but that was four years ago. Their facial expression sent a precise message that they were serious with the training. There was no shouting as they usually do when conducting trainings at their main base at Ngonini.’
The newspaper reported that the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) said people were intimidated by the manner in which the police were training.
Muzi Mhlanga, Secretary General of SNAT, said holding rifles in public view would scare civilians.
He said the kingdom was not at war.