Saturday 2021-10-16

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SITEKI BROUGHT TO A STANDSTILL

By Wonderboy Dlamini | 2021-10-14

AN estimated 4 000 people took part in what was an emotional protest march to Siteki Police Station where they demanded answers on the shooting and killing of Nhlanhla Kunene. Kunene (52) was allegedly shot dead by traffic police officers near Mpaka last Thursday night.

The police claim that Kunene did not stop at a roadblock when he was signalled to do so. The Kunene family and residents of Lugongolweni are, however, not satisfied with the explanation given by the police.

For this reason, the family was joined by the throngs of people as they marched to the police station. Residents and political activists affiliated to various formations assembled at Mzilikazi Shopping Complex at around 10:00 hours.

The protesters then marched about three kilometres to the town centre where they proceeded and marched around the town centre. At about the same time, public transport workers were also assembled at the bus rank after they had removed their vehicles and parked them outside the terminals. The town was grounded.

The two groups eventually joined forces and continued with the protest march within the town centre. Noteworthy was that members of the public who had come to the town for personal business abandoned same and joined the protest.

In the meantime, businesses were brought to a halt as shops closed down as they feared for the worse. Even though the protesters maintained a peaceful conduct, their large number seemed intimidating, hence a sudden deployment of the army.

Members of the Eswatini Umbutfo Defence Force (EUDF) arrived in a truck, which offloaded them along Jacaranda Street. For a moment, the arrival of the army seemed to have frightened some of the protesters as they suddenly became reluctant to continue with the march on the street.

It took some effort by the leadership to assure the protesters that the army was only there to maintain order. The protest march proceeded peacefully until 13:30 hours, upon which a petition was successfully delivered at the police station.

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