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Zimbabwean TV Journalist Reportedly Murdered Over Tsvangirai Video

The Independent newspaper of London reported Wednesday that Zimbabwean journalist Edward Chikombo, said to have been a part-time cameraman for state television, was kidnapped by state agents and murdered for smuggling out a March 13th videotape showing the badly beaten opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The video, broadcast on CNN and elsewhere, generated international outrage at the apparent brutal treatment of opposition members by the Zimbabwean police.

The report said Chikombo was abducted in the high-density suburb of Glenview and that his body was found in Darwendale, 50 kilometers west of the capital.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena, an assistant commissioner, refused to comment on the alleged kidnapping and murder. Sources said Central Intelligence Organization agents had been deployed to Glenview, where Chikombo was being mourned.

A journalist who visited the Chikombo home on Wednesday said the family members, who appeared to be terrified, refused to answer questions about his death.

But the confirmed he was kidnapped on Saturday and that police notified them about his death on Sunday. His body was at a hospital mortuary in Chinhoyi, where family members were said to have gone Wednesday to claim it. Relatives said they feared his remains would be removed by officials as in the case of Gift Tandare, the opposition activist slain March 11 and later buried by officials in secrecy.

Tandare was shot dead by police during protests following the police suppression of a court-sanctioned prayer meeting in the Harare suburb of Highfield.

Zimbabwe Union of Journalists President Matthew Takaona told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe Zimbabwe is a minefield for journalists.

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