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Zimbabwe Ruling Party Militants Control Rural Movement With Roadblocks

Sources in a number of locations in Zimbabwe said paramilitary forces closely tied to the ruling ZANU-PF party and liberation war veterans have imposed dusk-to-dawn curfews in many regions, and have set up roadblocks to control movement.

Sources in Gwanda, Matabeleland South province, said militia and war veterans have virtually cut off most rural areas in the province. Sources said parts of Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central, Masvingo and Manicaland provinces have been similarly cut off from the outside world.

Suspected ZANU-PF militia in Mashonaland West province fire-bombed the homes of former Chegutu mayor Francis Dhlakama and an unsuccessful house candidate in the Chegutu East constituency, Gift Konjana, according to spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. He said members of the ZANU-PF youth militia burned the home of Chegutu West candidate Takalani Matibe.

A source in Norton, Mashonaland West, said four opposition activists were arrested Friday and eight others were injured in skirmishes with ZANU-PF militia.

Opposition sources said Dadirai Chipiro, 45, was buried Wednesday, five days after she was burned to death at her rural home in Mhondoro-Ngezi. Reports said her killers cut off her hands and feet before casting her into a blazing house.

MDC security secretary Giles Mutsekwa told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the curfews and roadblocks imposed by the militia have crippled party operations two weeks before the presidential run-off election.

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