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Catholic Entity in Swaziland “outraged” by Alleged Police Killing of University Student

Thabani Nkhomonye who was allegedly killed by the police in Swaziland/ Credit: Courtesy Photo

The alleged killing of a University student in Swaziland, officially the Kingdom of Eswatini, by the police has enraged the Eswatini Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (ECCJP), officials of the Catholic entity of Manzini Diocese have said.

Making reference to the death of Thabani Nkomonye in a Tuesday, May 25 statement, ECCJP officials say they are “broken-hearted, sickened and outraged to hear of yet another life brutally ended allegedly by unprincipled public officials who are supposed to be the first in defence and protection of human life.”

“These unjust acts have unfortunately plagued our nation for some years now, and the recent brutal death of one Thabani Nkomonye calls for even greater effort and action,” ECCJP officials in the one-Diocese nation appeal.

The brother of the late Thabani filed a missing person’s report with the police on May 11 after failing to reach him since May 8, says the Nkomonye family in a statement issued May 20.

Two days after filing the report, the mother of the 25-year-old student of Law at the University of Swaziland followed up with the police. She was informed that her son’s vehicle was involved in an accident on May 8 and was towed from the location that day and that Thabani’s body was not found at the scene of the accident, members of the Nkomonye family have recounted. 

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Members of the Nkomonye family sought to establish facts for themselves and going to the scene of the alleged accident.

Within “two minutes” of their arrival, the Nkomonye family including members of the extended family altogether numbering twenty located Thabani’s body underneath some thorny bushes “not more than 30 meters from where the car allegedly landed after it allegedly veered off the road,” they have further recounted.

They raised questions with the police, considering that they observed “no single drop of blood” at the scene of the accident.

The Nkomonye family has also sought to know how the police could not have located Thabani’s body when they located it with relative ease.

Thabani’s vehicle had “what seemed like a bullet hole on the rear bumper of the car but direct to the driver’s position,” the Nkomonye family has also reported.

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In their May 25 statement, ECCJP officials extend their “deepest sympathy” to the family and friends of the late Thabani.

The news of Thabani’s death caused public outrage across the country with students protesting to demand justice for the late colleague.

Making reference to the demonstrations witnessed across various cities in Swaziland, ECCJP officials say, “The protests we are seeing across our cities, reflect the justified frustration and anger of thousands of our brothers and sisters.”

“As members of the Church, we must stand for the more difficult right and just actions instead of the easy wrongs of injustice,” they say in the May 25 statement posted on Facebook in which they also express their “passionate support of communities that are understandably outraged.” 

ECCJP officials continue, “People of good conscience must never turn a blind eye when fellow citizens are being deprived of their lives.”

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“Indifference is not an option,” they further say, adding that the people of God in Swaziland should not “ignore these atrocities and yet still profess to respect every human life.”

They express caution saying, “Until the authorities find the political will to enforce profound changes in the ethos of policing in our country, more such deaths might be inevitable.”

An inquest into the circumstances surrounding Thabani’s death started Monday, May 24.