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Spate Of Bombings Continue In Swaziland


Firebombings of government targets have continued in Swaziland, despite the arrest of 16 members of banned political organizations in connection with the attacks. Recent targets include a police housing development in the capital, Mbabane. Two weeks ago there were firebombings at two Swazi high schools, including the Swazi National High School, just outside the commercial hub of Manzini. The school’s alumni include some of King Mswati's brothers. An office at the Mbabane magistrate's court was also struck. The bombing campaign began in mid-2005, with the primary targets being the homes of police and government officials. The opposition accuses the government of using the bombings as an excuse to crack down on pro-democracy groups.

Swazi government spokesman Tercy Simelane told English to Africa reporter Ashenafi Abedje that officials “worry about the continued violence.” But he said the government “looks forward to having the situation under control as soon as possible.” The spokesman says the bombings have damaged several government buildings and schools and injured many people. No loss of life has been reported to date. Simelane says his government is not sure who is behind the bombings, but that it suspects “an underground group that has been threatening to make the country ungovernable.”

The spokesman says the suspected groups have been pressing calls for a new constitution, multipartyism and an elected prime minister. He says the government responded by soliciting the inputs of all segments of society in drafting a new constitution. Simelane says the groups suspected of the bombings pulled out of the all-inclusive process after only two weeks of participation. He says in the end, they seem to have opted for the violence route.

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