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Zimbabwean Police Said to Mount Crackdown On Student Activists

Zimbabwean student leaders said Wednesday they have been targeted by a police crackdown that has sent one to the hospital and another into hiding.

Sources said Witlaw Mugwiji, president of the Masvingo State University Student Representative Council, was in police custody in the intensive care unit of Masvingo Central Hospital after officers battered him and fellow student council officer Eddison Hlatshwayo as they sat for exams.

University of Zimbabwe students Kudakwashe Mapundu and Caesar Sitiya, allegedly detained and beaten in the Avondale, Harare, police station on Friday, were released on Tuesday after human rights lawyers intervened in their cases.

Relatives of Zimbabwe National Student Union President Promise Mkwananzi said Harare police of assaulted them during a search for the activist.

Mkwananzi, from hiding, told reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he believes police mounted the blitz to keep him from traveling to Europe with a delegation of other civic and opposition leaders.

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