Child killed, schools damaged in Eswatini unrest, UNICEF says

Geneva, July 10 (dpa/GNA) - The UN children's agency UNICEF said on Friday one child has died and 14 schools have been damaged or looted in the small African mountain kingdom of Eswatini after a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

"UNICEF is deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of children in Eswatini following days of unrest that has claimed the life of at least one child and injured another," a statement said.

The agency said the fatality was a high-school-aged boy who was fatally shot in the Hhohho region on Wednesday. In a separate incident, a younger child was injured by gunfire while out shopping.

The violence was further limiting educational opportunities for children after some schools were forced to close due to the pandemic, UNICEF said.

"UNICEF is calling on all sides to show restraint - even one child caught up in violence is a child too many."

There have been clashes in recent day between police and pro-democracy demonstrators in the impoverished state with a population of just under 1.2 million.

The absolutist King Mswati III has been criticized for his extravagance, while political parties are banned in Eswatini.