Gunmen in Eswatini killed a prominent opposition politician and human rights lawyer at his home, a spokesman told AFP on Sunday, hours after the country’s absolute monarch challenged activists opposed to his rule.
Thulani Maseko was shot dead on Saturday night by unknown attackers in Luhleko, around 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the capital Mbabane, opposition spokesman Sikelela Dlamini said.
The spokesman said he was told “assassins shot him through the window while he was inside (the) house with his family”.
“Details are still scant (and), owing to the trauma his family members are undergoing, they are not yet ready to speak,” Dlamini added.
Just last week the opposition accused King Mswati III of hiring South African mercenaries to attack activists – which officials denied.
The government sent condolences to the family, saying Maseko’s death was a “loss for the nation” and that police were searching for the killers.
Maseko was a leading human rights lawyer and columnist in Eswatini who had a pending court battle with King Mswati III over the monarch’s decision to rename the country Eswatini by decree.
The country’s name was changed from Swaziland to Eswatini to mark the 50th anniversary of its independence from Britain in 2018.
Maseko’s position was that the king had not followed the constitution in the process.