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Increased Military Involvement Seen In Zimbabwe Post-Election Violence


Violence is continuing unabated in Zimbabwe's rural areas, sources said Monday, and some reports from local witnesses suggest that the military is taking a more prominent role in post-election assaults against opposition officials and supporters.

Sources in Masvingo Province said soldiers have unleashed a campaign of terror against members of the Movement for Democratic Change in the town of Mwenezi and the surrounding area, forcing them to flee their homes.

A source in Mwenezi said the military is in charge and directing members of the ruling ZANU-PF party's youth militia to harass suspected MDC loyalists. The source said soldiers and militia members set up a torture camp at Neshuro Business Center.

Also in Mwenezi, sources said soldiers on Sunday removed four village headmen from their positions because they were suspected of opposition sympathies, replacing them with ZANU-PF militants.

In Gutu, Masvingo, a traditional leader named Chief Munyaradzi is said to be leading ZANU-PF militia members who have been taking down the names of opposition supporters then handing over them to soldiers and liberation war veterans.

In Mashonaland East Province, militia are said to have been targeting school teachers. The Murewa Community Development Trust issued a statement Monday saying that it had assessed conditions at 15 schools around the province and found that a number of teachers have not gone to their jobs out of concern for their personal safety.

Other sources said militia members are restricting the movement of teachers who have reported for duty, obliging them to obtain written clearance from a militia commander before they can leave their lodgings at their rural school.

Opposition activist Charles Muzenda, who was obliged to flee Mwenezi on Sunday, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that soldiers in the Masvingo town declared that they are now running the country.

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

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