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Complaint To Zimbabwe State Paper Leads To Arrests, Beatings - Opposition

Two members of the Zimbabwe opposition who went to the newsroom of the Bulawayo daily Chronicle newspaper to complain about an article were arrested by police, held for a week and severely beaten, opposition officials said on Wednesday.

Dickson Mahommed and Geshom Zimba, members of the faction of the Movement for Democratic Change led by MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai, are said to have tried to speak with editors at the state-controlled newspaper when police were called.

MDC sources said the newspaper published an article saying the two men had been paid by Thokozani Khuphe, a deputy vice president of the Tsvangirai faction, to attack delegates to an MDC women's assembly congress held last month at a restaurant in Bulawayo that is owned by Khupe. The opposition sources said the men were held in a wet cell and tortured for seven days before being hospitalized Tuesday.

Mahommed and Zimba were released on Wednesday without being charged, according to the opposition sources. Officials at the Chronicle newspaper refused to comment. National police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached.

Faction deputy spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo told reporter Chris Gande of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the faction will lodge a complaint against the police.

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