Southern African states seek to mediate in Eswatini unrest

Mbabane, Oct. 21, (dpa/GNA) - After several weeks of unrest in the South African kingdom of Eswatini, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is seeking talks with its monarch, King Mswati III.

The 16-country SADC regularly mediates in regional conflicts.

Since June, there have been repeated violent clashes in Eswatini - formerly known as Swaziland - between police and demonstrators demanding democratic reforms in Africa's last absolute monarchy.

According to Amnesty International, at least 80 civilians have been killed since June, although official figures say 33 people have died.

Mswati's decadent lifestyle stands in stark contrast to the widespread poverty of the 1.2 million people in the landlocked country, which borders Mozambique and South Africa.

Political parties have been banned in Eswatini since 1973.

The United Nations and humanitarian organizations have expressed concern about the brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations.