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Tuesday 10 July 2012


Swaziland police shot a mentally disturbed man seven times, killing him, and later claimed they had to do it because he had threatened them.

Mduduzi Mngometulu, aged 34, was killed after police were called to a disturbance at his home at Lubulini. Mngometulu’s family said they had trouble controlling him and asked for police assistance in getting him to a hospital.

When police arrived Mngometulu was seen dancing, praying and waving a bush knife.

Enock Mngometulu, Mduduzi’s father, said his son had not threatened anyone with the knife.

Enock Mngometulu told local media the family witnessed the shooting. ‘The police just opened fire on my son. All he had in his hand was a bush knife and he was not threatening to harm anyone. They shot him in cold blood, in front of his family.’ 

He said his son did not pose a threat to the people present.

He added, ‘To us it looks like murder. We watched as the police officer shoot at my son until he fell to the ground.’

A post-mortem later revealed Mngometulu had seven bullets in his body with four wounds in the stomach, one in the leg and two bullet wounds on the left side of the chest.

Swazi police spokesperson Supt Wendy Hleta said Mngometulu was violent and had threatened the police who eventually shot him dead.

‘In his state, he had become a violent man, and threatened to assault the police officer who eventually shot him.’

The killing is one of a number of police shootings in Swaziland that have raised questions about whether police have a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy when dealing with suspects.  Last month (June 2012) there was public controversy after police shot dead a suspected serial rapist called Scarface. Police claimed they shot him in the thigh to stop him escaping arrest, but it was later revealed Scarface had been shot in the head. 

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