Community police in Swaziland (eSwatini) have once again been accused of brutally assaulting crime suspects.
The latest case involves a 17-year-old boy who was whipped by community police at Fairview, Manzini.
The eSwatini Observer published a photograph of the boy's whipped back. The newspaper did not name the boy but said he had been with three others when they were accused of trying to defraud the owner of a shebeen (informal drinking place).
The owner called the community police. The community police operate in rural Swaziland and are supervised by traditional chiefs who are local representatives of the absolute monarch, King Mswati III. They have the authority to arrest suspects concerning minor offences for trial by an inner council within the chiefdom. For serious offences suspects should be handed over to the official police for further investigations.
The boy's father told the Observer there were 10 community police officers who took turns beating the four boys. He called it 'a kangaroo style of punishment'.
The boy was taken to hospital. His father said he would take legal action against the police.
The Observer reported, 'He said what was problematic was that it seemed as if police brutality was on the rise yet it put lives at risk. He said his child was admitted and was at risk of losing out on the ongoing examinations at his school.'
There have been a number of reports of community police brutality in Swaziland. They include community police at KaMasuku who paraded naked five suspected thieves and severely beat them on their buttocks. At least two needed hospital treatment.
Community police at Mahwalala allegedly beat a teenager to death to make him confess to a crime he had not committed. He was one of six people accused by the police of robbing an elderly man. It said he was interrogated through the night and died of his injuries.
Community police at Gundvwini in the Manzini region illegally forced a six-year-old boy to strip and then thrashed him on the naked buttocks after he was accused of stealing a cellphone from a schoolteacher.
Five community police officers at Ngoloweni in Sandleni attacked a man described as 'mentally disturbed' and beat him close to death and set his genitals on fire. They suspected the 44-year-old man had attempted to rape a girl aged six.
Two community police officers at Malindza stripped a man naked, tied him to a tree and flogged his bare buttocks with sticks until they bled profusely. They had accused him of stealing pots from his grandfather's house.