The South African Communist Party has condemned the arrest of five executive members of the Swaziland Youth Congress, who could be charged with sedition.

The editor of Swaziland's state-owned newspaper was shot dead on Monday morning, apparently in an attempted carjacking, agencies reported.

The Swazi government has come under fire for trying to enforce Umchwasho, a cultural practice encouraging young women to keep their virginity, in an effort to fight Aids.

Swaziland has been identified as one of the countries in SADC which has been the hardest hit by the HIV/Aids pandemic. According to a recent report 24% to 36% of the population aged between 15-49 are living with Aids.

Mswati III has backed off on an earlier proclamation limiting rights. "That such an inward-looking, diehard government can respond in this way underscores how influential the liberal democratic value system has become in the world."