The U.S. embassy in Harare voiced concern Thursday at what it charged are continuing human rights violations in Zimbabwe, issuing a statement saying police last week beat to death a villager in the eastern Marange diamond field accused of illegal panning.
Villager Tsorosai Kusena died last Friday after he and three others were severely beaten by an unnamed senior police officer who detained them on suspicion of illegal mining, the embassy said, adding that it was “alarmed” by the incident.
The embassy noted the 18-year sentences given to four supporters of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party convicted of the 2009 murder of a Midlands province activist of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change. But the Embassy said it was worried ZANU-PF members did not seem to heed Mr. Mugabe's nonviolence calls.
The Embassy statement called on ZANU-PF politicians to advocate peace and discourage their supporters from committing violence, and urged police to scrupulously investigate and quickly prosecute in cases of abuse or violations of the law.
Tichafara Kusena, brother of the Marange victim, told VOA reporter Blessing Zulu that his brother was not an illegal miner and died of traumatic shock from the assault.
"My brother was arrested while he was rehabilitating a (water) well, and he succumbed to the assault," Kusena said. "Others were hospitalized due to the beatings."
Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher Tiseke Kasambala said from South Africa that the watchdog organization is also concerned about ongoing rights abuses.