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Officers Of Zimbabwe Teachers Union Released, But Fear For Safety

Two officials of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe arrested Wednesday and held without being arraigned for nearly two days were released by police late on Thursday, though under circumstances that raised concern for their safety.

PTUZ General Secretary Raymond Majongwe said he and union National Treasurer Macdonald Mangauzane were released to their lawyers, and then were followed by six men whom he took to be Central Intelligence Organization agents. He said the supposed agents had been loitering in the police station before their release.

The suspected secret police agents tailed the car in which they left the police station, and subsequently followed the union vehicle into which they transferred.

At the time of their arrest, Majongwe and Mangauzane had been making the rounds of schools where some of their 17,000 members nationwide are on strike.

Attorney Otto Saki of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he found it surprising that the police released the men before pressing charges in court. He suggested that if the lawyers for the men had not arrived in a timely manner there might have been foul play.

Union leader Majongwe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he now fears for his life.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...