SWAZI DIES IN CUSTODY

THE People's United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) of Swaziland has blamed the security police for the death of a member in police custody.

THE People's United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) of Swaziland has blamed the security police for the death of a member in police custody.

The organisation said in a statement yesterday that Sipho Jele was last seen alive when he was picked up by security police in Manzini on May 1.

"Police on Tuesday told his grandmother that he had committed suicide in custody. A lot of Swazis have died at the hands of police and fictitious stories fabricated," the statement read.

Pudemo also alleged that police had tried to force Jele's family to bury him the next day. It further said the government gave the impression that Swaziland was a peaceful country with political freedom.

"But a political activist was killed for wearing a Pudemo T-shirt and attending a Workers Day event. These are the same tactics that were used during apartheid in South Africa to silence political activists.

"The international community, especially the SADC, must take up the issue of Swaziland. How many innocent people must die before the regional leadership condemns the Swazi regime and demand democratisation?"

Pudemo's youth wing, the Swaziland Youth Congress, condemned the incident.

General secretary Thabile Zwane said: "We remain committed to the cause of democracy. We will never be shaken by the brutality we are exposed to. The blood of our comrade will surely nourish the soil for democracy."

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