- the security at the homestead was minimal
- Bheki Maphalala is now wanted dead by the Solidarity Forces.
- attacks have been called “brutal crimes” by Prime Minister Cleopas Dlamini
Mbelebeleni-The political unrest in Eswatini continues unabated with arson attacks on the property and homes of prominent members of government, with the latest being the Chief Justice Bheki Maphalala. In the most recent approximately attack eight arsonists are reported to have attacked the Maphalala homestead at Jerusalem near Mbelebeleni in the Southern district of Shiselweni.
Apparently, the security at the homestead was minimal, if at all, as only two people happened to be there when the eight unknown men arrived shortly after midnight. The two men were woken up and harassed by their attackers, who fired a hail of bullets into the night sky.
It is reported that the eight men then carried out an onslaught on the homestead, smashing the window panes of all the houses and torching four of the buildings in the homestead. The attackers went beyond just burning and destroying the physical structures of the homestead. They also resorted to shooting livestock belonging to the Chief Justice. Five cattle are reported to have been slain by the unknown men, an indication that the attackers were not only vandals but were also dangerously armed.
The police spokesperson of the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS), Phindile Vilakati confirmed the incident saying “we are still investigating the incident and no arrests have been made.”
After causing the destruction, the arsonists are said to have escaped in a get away vehicle. Social media reports are that the assault on the Chief Justices homestead was carried out by members of the Swaziland International Solidarity Forces. It is alleged that the Chief Justice is manipulating the law to target political activists including the incarcerated of pro-democracy Members of Parliament (MPs) Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube. The reports are that Bheki Maphalala is now wanted dead by the Solidarity Forces.
In recent weeks the opposition group Swaziland International Solidarity Forces (SISF) has targeted members of the security forces as a form of protest against the arrest of pro-democracy demonstrators.
Those attacks have been called “brutal crimes that are being committed under the pretext of pursuing democracy,” by Prime Minister Cleopas Dlamini.