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Eswatini Army in charge while SADC talks could be a sham

Eswatini Army
Headline of the Times of Swaziland on July 4 saying the Army is taking control

The Eswatini Army may have taken over and is most likely stopping all protests, also those with peaceful grievances. The situation is currently calm, but the Internet seems to be shut off Monday morning.

  1. According to eTurboNews sources the situation in the Kingdom of Eswatini has calmed down, while the internet remains down most of the time.
  2. According to the Government friendly Times of Swaziland, the army is in charge of the Kingdom at this time.
  3. SADC ministers arrived in Eswatini and held talks with Government and Civil Society Group officials on Sunday, some see it as a cover up or sham.

A high-level government official told eTurboNews:

The insurgents are tricky as they come wearing camouflaged army uniforms. The destruction has been enormous and close to 30 deaths, mainly the looters who ran berserk from shop to shop. Some shop owners had to defend themselves.

While the Internet is mostly shut down in the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF) had informed the Eswatini nation that it would be a dominant sight countrywide in light of the current prevailing unrest, arson attacks on private and public properties, looting in outlets, harassment, and killing of innocent civilians.

The Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force is the official armed national military of the Southern African Kingdom of Eswatini. is used primarily during domestic protests, with some border and customs duties; the force has never been involved in a foreign conflict.

The Times of Swaziland published on Sunday: His Majesty the King is Commander-In-Chief of the UEDF. The first sight of the army being deployed on the country’s streets was on Tuesday after protesters went on a rampage and set properties, including buildings and trucks transporting various commodities, on fire. 

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This presence was heightened to even the townships, where looting of shops and barricading of roads using stones, logs and garbage bins became the order of the day. Yesterday, UEDF Public Relations Officer Lieutenant Tengetile Khumalo, at the behest of Army Commander General Jeffrey Tshabalala, said ‘the defense force has since taken over the unfortunate situation’.

She said this was in fulfillment of the army’s mandate, which, among other things, is ‘to assist the civilian authority in maintaining law and order during volatile situations such as this. 

“The UEDF is proud to share with all emaSwati that ever since taking over from the situation, peace has been restored. The defense force has successfully protected many lives and properties, which were on the verge of destruction by the arsonists masquerading as ‘protesters’,” Khumalo said. She emphasized that the UEDF would continue to perform its core functions in protecting lives and the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Eswatini. She said they would do this ‘despite smear campaigns aimed at tainting the reputation of our establishment’.

The smear campaigns, the lieutenant said, were based on information they had reliably gathered that there were foreign insurgents who were participating in the ongoing strife, who went about shooting at innocent people and shifting the blame to the military. “The UEDF would like to caution, these individuals to desist from their sporadic attacks on innocent civilians and arson attacks, to refrain from wearing a camouflage uniform that resembles ours,” Khumalo said. 

She passed on the defense force’s request to the nation to cooperate ‘with our diligent troops on the ground and respect all curfews that have been set by government’. Khumalo pleaded with parents to ensure that their children remained at home until the entire situation cleared.

“In fact, parents ought to warn their children against joining these ‘protesters,” said the army PRO. Khumalo further said the defense force always aspired to work as professionally as possible, hence the call for people to cooperate. She added: “To those who fail to abide by our requests, they will face the full wrath of our troops. The nation should not panic. The defense force is there to serve the nation.” The announcement by the army that it has since taken over the country’s streets happens only a day after the Institute for Democracy and Leadership (IDEAL), which is a non-profit making organization, filed an urgent application at the High Court seeking an order to remove soldiers from the streets.

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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