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Zimbabwe Opposition Factions Report Assaults By Ruling Party Youth

Officials of both groupings of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change said members of their party were severely assaulted today in Harare, the country's capital, and provincial Bindura, by alleged ruling party youth militants.

Spokesman Gabriel Chaibva of the MDC formation led by Arthur Mutambara said three members of the opposition wing were assaulted in Mbare, Harare, by a criminal gang of youths known to locals as "Chipangano" and aligned with the ruling party.

Elections Director Dennis Murira of the MDC formation led by presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai said three members of his grouping were badly beaten by at least 85 ZANU-PF youths in Bindura and were receiving medical attention.

Elsewhere, the homes of three opposition members were said to have been torched at Manga Farm, Bindura, where Minister Without Portfolio and ZANU-PF Commissar Elliot Manyika is seeking re-election to parliament.

VOA was unable to obtain comment from the ruling party on the allegations.

Meanwhile, a pre-election update by the Zimbabwe Peace Project reflected a rise in cases of violence and intimidation in the provinces of Harare, Midlands, Manicaland, Matebeleland North and Matabeleland South.

Peace Project Director Jestina Mukoko told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the occurrence of incidents of violence in widely separated areas of the country is a cause for concern to human rights activists.

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