A bloody crackdown

Worsening repression inside Zimbabwe

THE situation in Zimbabwe is akin to war, says the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). It is certainly looking ever more brutal. Violence and repression have escalated dramatically over the past few days. Pro-government militias roam the countryside, terrorising and beating suspected opposition supporters. The police remain idle or, in some cases, join in with the beatings. The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, a local outfit, has treated over 240 cases of injury, including broken limbs, resulting from organised violence since parliamentary and presidential elections just over three weeks ago.

Human Rights Watch, an international group, says that ZANU-PF, the ruling party of President Robert Mugabe, has set up torture camps across the country as part of a systematic campaign to intimidate the opposition, which won the parliamentary elections and, it claims, the presidential vote too. Victims are taken to the camps at night and beaten for hours with thick sticks, bars and army batons. Huts and houses have been torched. An unofficial curfew is in force in the poor suburbs of Harare, the capital. The MDC says that ten of its supporters have been killed, some shot dead. The opposition also says that some 3,000 families have had to flee their homes, 500 people have been put in hospital and over 400 opposition activists have been arrested. ...


[Source: The Economist: News analysis -

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