Swaziland
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LISWATI TELLS COPS: I WAS TRAINING FOR COUP WITH 300 OTHERS IN MOZst

MBABANE – The police are skeptical of a man alleging that he was part of 28 locals training in Mozambique in anticipation to stage a coup d’é·tat.

This publication has gathered that about a fortnight ago, a man handed himself over to security personnel at Mhlumeni in the Lubombo Region. The man was said to have first handed himself over to members of the Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF) based along the Mhlumeni – Siteki Public Road. According to sources, when handing himself to the security personnel, the man supposedly relayed to them that he was part of 28 people recruited locally to form part of a 300-people-militia group set to stage a coup d’é·tat in the country. A coup d’é·tat is defined as a sudden, violent, and unlawful seizure of power from a government.

The UEDF personnel are said to have taken the man to the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) officers in Siteki. According to sources, the man was interviewed on his allegations by the law enforcers at the police station over a number of days. It was gathered from sources that the man supposed to have been recruited into joining the so-called militia group with a promise of earning E10 000 monthly. According to sources, the man in his version of events, claimed that they were lured to render security services with a monthly remuneration of E10 000. In the country, according to the Labour Survey of 2021 conducted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, youth unemployment stands at 58.2 per cent, while the overall unemployment rate in the kingdom is at 33.3 per cent, which was an acute increase from 23.4 per cent recorded in 2016.

Meanwhile, the man was said to have informed the law enforcers that after partaking in the training, the anticipated remuneration was said to have not been forthcoming. He supposedly informed the security personnel that when he arrived in Mozambique, there were other emaSwati already in training with some Mozambican nationals. The man was said to have purported that the Mozambican nationals were former members of certain rebel groups in the hosting State. It was gathered that the man, in his narration of events, supposed that they had been training for over three months.

Training

However, the man was said to have claimed that he had left the secluded training facility in Mozambique because the supposed remuneration was not forthcoming, while also their welfare was not catered for. In his alleged three-month stay at the supposed training facility, the man supposed that in the first month, they engaged in physical training, which was followed by tactical fighting using firearms. Sources claimed that as part of the investigation into vetting the veracity of the man’s allegations, he was supposedly given a gun to dismantle and re-assemble it. The sources claimed that with ease, the man engaged in the exercise. Furthermore, the man was said to have insisted that a certain political leader had visited their training facility at some point and informed them that they were making a sacrifice for generations to come. He further claimed that the man was particular with the area in which the supposed training was taking place. They claimed that the man insisted that he could lead the security personnel to it.

He was said to have informed the law enforcers that before supposedly fleeing from the training facility, he had tried to reason with some of the emaSwati that they were on a losing battle.
He supposed that his challenge was that they would be outnumbered in the country and that their firearms would be insufficient for the purported mission. However, his countrymen supposedly did not buy into his reasoning, which led to him fleeing the training camp. The sources claimed that there were elements of truth in some of the things the man said; but they argued that there were events which did not correspond with his time frames. The sources claimed that the man had alleged that the coup would be staged just before the final stages of the elections. They claimed that he outlined that the plan was to render the country ungovernable before a particular political leader returned to the country with the hope of negotiations ensuing.

Meanwhile, some of the allegations made by the man cannot be repeated in the interim as they could not be verified. This publication has it in authority that the said man was interviewed by law enforcers over several days before being released to his family. The allegations reported and recorded by the police came after claims that a group of locals were recruited and trained in South Africa (SA). Some of the men who were supposedly trained in SA were arrested by the police and face 38 charges, which three of them are related to being found in possession of illegal firearms and violating the Suppression of Terrorism Act. They are, among other charges, accused of being involved in the murder and attempted murder of law enforcement officers in different parts of the country. They are accused to be members of a group known as Swaziland Solidarity Forces. The commander of this group is said to be a former police officer. The similarities in the allegations also include the hardships endured while in training, such as the lack of financial resources and also the failure to attain the promised financial reward.

Arrested

Meanwhile, REPS reported that it had arrested 10 suspects who were involved in over 16 politically motivated and/or terrorism-related cases committed from year 2021 to date.The police, in their annual report ended January 31, 2023, stated that the suspects were arrested and are currently undergoing processes of the country’s justice system. These cases, the police reported, included but not limited to murders (including the killing of police officers and members of the other security forces), attempted murders, suppression of terrorism, contravention of the Arms and Ammunition Act, armed robbery, malicious injury to property, arson and kidnapping. The police reported that investigations were still actively ongoing to bring to book other suspects linked to these destructive acts of criminality. Conversely, Deputy Police Information and Communications Officer Inspector Nosipho Mnguni confirmed that a man handed himself to the police with certain allegations. Mnguni, however, said, when they interviewed the man and in their investigations, they concluded that his information was not credible.