MANZINI: Unknown gunmen executed a guard Friday and forced him to make a video that demanded King Mswati III of Eswatini institute democratic reforms.

The guard, Mbongseni Dlamini, was a member of the Royal Guard stationed at the Ludzidzini Royal Palace.

In the video posted on social media, Dlamini tells Mswati that citizens want democracy and that as officers of the crown, they are being executed.

“I’ve been kidnapped by the ground forces that want democracy. We are dying here. I also urge police, soldiers and warders to stop violence against civilians. People want democracy,” he was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency.

Mswati unleashed the force of security officers, including guards, who killed more than 100 civilians -- mostly youth.

The killing of security of officers in ambushes has become common in the kingdom since unrest in 2021 when residents went on rampages and burned trucks, tires and looted shops on main roads.

Late Thursday, officers manning the Matsapha police station, had to take cover as gunmen fired bullets at duty officers.

In a separate incident in Kwaluseni, the home of Matsapha MP Sibusiso Dlamini was allegedly attacked by gunmen who fired bullets at the house, forcing him and his family to hide and lie on their stomachs to avoid being shot.

Director of Communications at the King’s Office, Percy Simelane, said law enforcement agencies will bring the culprits to account.

“To contain any form of lawlessness or criminality, we will continue to use legal means. Intelligence will continue to tell us who to bring to book. Some elements have already been booked,” said Simelane.

But Simelane maintained that Eswatini is a democracy with one of the best electoral systems in the world where the decision of voters is final.

“In this country, we the people, nominate and vote into parliament our representation as opposed to situations where party leaders around the world impose themselves on the electorate,” he said.

Since the June 2021 unrest, Mswati has not shown a commitment to talks.

At the 42nd Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit of heads of state in August, in Kinshasa, Congo, the group said it will set up a team to look into the Eswatini crisis, where pro-democracy groups are calling for the abdication of Mswati after the killing of civilians by security forces.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said SADC will set up a fact-finding mission on Eswatini and send a panel of elders to find effective ways to deal with the situation. - Bernama