7 March 2018

Swaziland: Police Fire Nine Live Shots At Bar

Two police officers in Swaziland fired nine live bullets at a bar that was open after hours.

It is one of many incidents of police firing around civilians who have committed no crime.

It happened at Pholani Bar in Pigg's Peak. The Swazi Observer newspaper reported on Monday (5 March 2018) that the police officers fired 'warning shots' in the air.

The newspaper reported 'well-placed sources' saying, the police officers had gone to the bar to try and close it as its official operating time had elapsed. The bar was supposed to close at midnight but because it was the end of the month and customers had money to spend it stayed open.

The Observer reported, 'While trying to close the bar, one of the police officers then decided to try and arrest an unruly individual who was disturbing the peace.

'This did not go down well with the patrons because the individual then called his friends who surrounded the police officer. The mob then told the police to retreat and drive off and the policeman heeded the warning and drove away in haste while some started throwing beer bottles at the retreating police van.'

The newspaper added, '[A]s some charged towards the police officers, they had to fire warning shots in the air to ward off the angry mob.'

This is one of number of incidents in which police have fired live bullets. In January 2018 police reportedly they fired live ammunition during a protest by students from Swaziland Christian University about delays in receiving allowances and problems over graduation.

In February 2017 they fired warning gunshots at civilians when kombi drivers and conductors brought traffic to a standstill at Mvutshini by blocking the highway and stopping public transport. They were protesting about an alleged corrupt traffic police officer.

Also in February 2017 police fired warning gunshots as University of Swaziland students marched with a petition to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to protest about late payment of their allowances.

Again in February 2017 they fired live gunshots and teargas at workers at Juris Manufacturing in Nhlangano when workers were locked out in a dispute over allegations that management planned to purge the staff of 'troublesome elements'.

In October 2016 police fired gunshots at protesting students at the Limkokwing university in Mbabane. At least four students received 'serious injuries' during disturbances, according to the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom's only independent daily newspaper.

In August 2016 riot police fired shots over the heads of striking workers outside the Plantation Forestry Company who were protesting for an increase in pay of the equivalent of 35 US cents per hour.

In October 2015 police fired shots and teargas at protesting textile workers at the Zheng Yong Garment factory in Nhlangano. They were protesting against the behaviour of security guards.

In June 2013 police fired live bullets and teargas as children protested against alleged corruption at Mhubhe High School in Ngculwini.


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