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Zimbabwe Ruling Party Youth In Alleged Attack On Masvingo Forum

Delegates to a meeting of Zimbabwe's Youth Forum in Masvingo said a session in the southeastern provincial capital was broken up on Thursday by about 100 youth of the ruling ZANU-PF party who allegedly beat participants and shattered windows.

Sources in Masvingo said the attackers, who had been brought to Charles Austin Hall near the Masvingo civic center aboard a bus, were dispatched by Deputy Minister of Water Resources and Infrastructure Development Walter Mzembi, who is also the member of parliament for the Masvingo South constituency.

Mzembi told VOA that the allegations he organized the attack were "baseless."

The Zimbabwe Republic Police in Masvingo arrested not the attackers but two of the organizers of the Youth Forum event, Youth Forum Coordinator Wellington Zindove and Edson Hlatswayo, a student leader at Great Zimbabwe University, Masvingo.

The violence took place ahead of a celebration on Saturday in Masvingo of the eighth anniversary of the founding of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

And with presidential and general elections on the horizon in March 2008, Zimbabwe is moving into full political campaign mode - which often means more violence.

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported from Harare.

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