Swaziland
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MAN CLAIMS; ‘COMMUNITY COPS’ WHIPPED, TORTURED, FORCED HIM INTO POND

BUHLENI – A group of men is allegedly using unconventional methods in a bid to wipe out crime in the community of Fontotje.

Fontotje is a community under Buhleni and neighbouring Herefords. It is also one of the areas known for high rates of crimes, especially muggings.
A group of men, who claim to be community police members, have now mobilised to wipe out crime in the area in what they call ‘Operation Lungisa’. However, some of the residents are not happy about this, as the group, which also calls itself, ‘Mfelandza-wonye’, which is alleged to torture people accused of crimes.

Live Nkambule, who is a resident of Fontotje is still nursing wounds of an alleged beating and torture he said he was subjected to by the group of men. He said the alleged assault happened just over a week ago when he was interviewed on Thursday. Live said he was still taking medication for the intense pain and ointment for the scars on his back, which were still visible. Speaking about the ordeal, he said trouble started when he was accused of hiring people to assault a certain resident. He said it all started when a certain person was stabbed while at a place known as Embutfweni, which is a popular watering hole.

Injured

He said a fight between two people he personally knew broke out, while they were near the watering hole. Live said he was worried someone could get injured because one of the men had a knife. Live mentined that in an attempt to assist in the fight, he allegedly tried to hold one of the men. However, as he did so, the other one allegedly stabbed the person he had held. He said he was then accused of being part of the fight. Live said he was then charged with the offence by the police and that the matter ended up in court. Despite being charged, Live said he was surprised that the Mfelandzawonye group, that claims to be local community police members for Fontotje were looking for him.

He said about a week ago, while he was returning from an entertainment spot with friends around Buhleni, he was stopped by a group of men. He then realised that it was the members of Mfelandzawonye. Live said four of the men introduced themselves and began questioning him on why he had hired someone to assault one of the residents. “I had no response honestly as I was shocked, I just remember telling them I had nothing to do with the fight,” said Live. He said the men then began to assault him all over the body with fists and kicks, the time he remembered was  around 11pm.
“I was beaten up so badly and  forced to admit to a crime I had not committed,” he added.

He said the men then took turns and used sticks to whip him on the back, as well as on his hands. Live said despite his screams of pain as he was being whipped, the men continued to attack him. “They then  forced me to dive into a nearby pond,” he alleged. He said the alleged torture lasted about three hours, since he was only allowed to go home at  around 2am. A relative to Live said though the men were claiming to be community police members, they were installed by another faction of the inner council. “We do not recognise them,” said a relative who asked not to be mentioned out of fear. He said while it was true that there was an increase in crime within  the area, it was wrong for community police members to assault those suspected of having committed crimes.“Why don’t they arrest them instead and take them to the nearest police station ?” he asked.