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Zimbabwe Opposition Factions Clash in Matabelele North Province

Tension was said to be running high Tuesday among rival factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change just days after the two groupings reportedly agreed a non-aggression pact during preliminary talks in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Police intervened Monday in Hwange, Matabeleland North province, after the factions clashed over control of the local MDC office. Police issued a peace order to the faction led by the MDC's founding president Morgan Tsvangirai, and barred members of the faction led by former expatriate businessman Arthur Mutambara from the office.

Tsvangirai faction administrator Michael Phiri said he received death threats from the Mutambara faction, singling out deputy information secretary Abednico Bhebhe, the member of parliament for Nkayi, another town in Matabeleland North.

Bhebhe rejected the accusation and and told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his faction intended to legally challenge the peace order.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai faction said the clashes would not stop his faction from confronting the administration of President Robert Mugabe.

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