The government of eSwatini (formally known as Swaziland) has ordered the arrest of political opposition figures and activists of the country's largest political party, the People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO).
According to a PUDEMO spokesperson, the police carried out raids in their houses yesterday and arrest top political figures and activists.
In recent times, the opposition against the government led by King Mswati III, an absolute monarchy has increased significantly. Many citizens across the country have expressed displeasure at the way government was running the affairs of the country.
However, in a report by Al Jazeera, the Police Commissioner in the country, William Dlamini told reporters the police had "invited some individuals to assist us in our enquiries pertaining to state security information", but denied that any of them been arrested or detained.
The report also claims that a spate of anti-monarchy demonstrations has taken place across eSwatini this year. Some have turned violent with police using tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon to disperse stone-throwing protesters.
Demonstrators say the king drains public coffers to fund a lavish lifestyle while most of his 1.5 million subjects eke out a living toiling in maize or sugarcane fields.
A decade ago, Forbes estimated Mswati's net worth at $200m, a figure he argued is false.
Percy Simelane, a spokesman for the government and the king, referred Reuters News Agency to the police when asked for comment.
Some of the protest marches were organised by the Political Parties Assembly, whose leaders were targeted in the raids.
Mlungisi Makhanya, president of the People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), told Reuters that the party's secretary-general Wandile Dludlu had been arrested and political materials and electronic devices had been seized.
He added that a legislator and former trade union leader and the presidents of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers and the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress had also been targeted.
The Communist Party of Swaziland said its national chairperson, Dumisani Fakudze, had also been detained.
Trade unionist Jan Sithole told Reuters after being released that the police had kept his mobile phone, laptop and flash drives.
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Header Image Credit: Al Jazeera