Southern African bloc dispatches envoys to protest-hit Eswatini

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa dispatched special envoys to Eswatini for talks with Africa’s last absolute monarchy about growing unrest in the southern African nation.

Five officials will travel to Eswatini this week for talks with King Mswati III, said Ramaphosa, who is also the current chairman of the Southern African Development Community Organ on Defence, Politics and Security Cooperation.

Eswatini earlier this week shut down schools indefinitely as pro-democracy protests intensified. The unrest comes four months after security forces cracked down on similar demonstrations in the kingdom.

The pro-democracy protests have escalated in recent weeks with pupils and public-transport workers joining the calls for change. King Mswati, 53, who’s ruled the South African neighbour for more than 35 years, has dismissed the demands, while rights groups have accused his security forces of abuses, including killings and beatings.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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