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Mission Hospital In Zimbabwe's Midlands Said Terrorized By Ruling Party Militia

The Zimbabwe Peace Project said Wednesday that post-election violence by militants of the ruling ZANU-PF party is escalating in the provinces of Midlands and Matabeland North, which had previously been less affected by such attacks and intimidation.

The non-governmental group said ZANU-PF supporters have been terrorizing the Driefontein Mission in the Chirumanzi South constituency in Midlands, beating people and paralyzing operations at the mission which runs two hospitals and two schools.

It said a Swiss doctor was forced to leave the hospital Tuesday and two other doctors were said to be holed up in their residences. In Gweru itself, police and soldiers were reportedly roaming the streets barring people from standing in groups.

In Mashonaland East, the Murewa Community Development Trust said war veterans and ZANU-PF youth militia have set up detention centers where they are allegedly torturing local opposition members and human rights activists.

The group said one of the camps is located at a location known as Corner Store on the Murewa-Nyamapanda highway where ruling party youth militia were said to be attacking villagers suspected of opposition loyalties from a dilapidated building.

The organization said Health Minister David Parirenyatwa and newly elected Murewa Senator Bright Makunde were involved in perpetrating the violence. VOA was unable to reach Dr. Parirenyatwa, a local member of parliament, on his mobile phone.

Sources in Gutu West said a man was badly injured last night when he was struck with an axe.

Zimbabwe Peace Project National Director Jestina Mukoko told VOA reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the violence has reached alarming proportions.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says a rising tide of people from rural areas is flowing into Harare and other cities as villagers are forced out of their homes by post-election violence aimed at suspected MDC supporters.

Sources among non-governmental groups said they met Wednesday with international aid organizations to discuss the possibility of setting up temporary shelter for those displaced by rural violence who are gathering now at opposition offices.

MDC officials say a truck reached Harare on Wednesday from Gokwe North carrying around 50 people of whom about 20 needed medical attention.

Attorney Rangu Nyamurundira of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his organization has started processing cases concerning some of the thousands allegedly displaced, beaten or tortured by ZANU-PF youth militia, war veterans or uniformed forces.

Elsewhere, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said that in the past three days its members have treated 81 patients with injuries caused by organised violence and torture. The doctors said 54 of the cases came from Harare or nearby Chitungwiza, 13 came from Mudzi and Murehwa, and four from Mount Darwin.

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