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Zimbabwean Parliament Panel Urges Closure Of Youth Militia Camps

A Zimbabwean parliamentary committee has urged the government to close down its National Youth Service Centers - training camps in which youth militia closely affiliated with the ruling ZANU-PF party are indoctrinated, citing deplorable living conditions.

A report issued by the Committee on Youth, Gender and Women’s Affairs said youths in the so-called Border Gezi Training Camps, named after a ZANU-PF parliamentarian for Bindura linked to deadly violence in the 2000 general election and who died in an automobile accident in 2001, were near starving and living in appalling conditions.

The report was based on inspections of Dadaya camp in Zvishavane, Midlands, and Guyu camp in Gwanda, Matabeleland South, between November 2006 and March.

The government has been accused of using the youth militia, often referred to as the "Green Bombers," to terrorize opposition members, especially in rural areas.

Committee member Amos Chibaya, who represents Mkoba for the Movement for Democratic Change faction of Morgan Tsvangirai, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he doesn't expect the government to act on the committee's recommendations with elections coming up in March 2008.

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