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Zimbabwe Opposition Says Death Toll From Political Violence Reaches 43

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change said Monday that the death toll among its officials, members and supporters has risen to 43 with the identification of two activists missing since last week in Murehwa, Mashonaland East province.

MDC officials said the bodies of Godfrey Kauzani and Cain Nyevhe, reported missing at the same time as Better Chakururama, found slain earlier, were identified by family members on Sunday at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare. Police briefly detained the two women who made the identification of the victims, the officials said.

Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa said 43 activists have died in violence following the presidential, general and local elections held on March 29, in which the opposition claimed a majority in the lower house of parliament and presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai outpolled President Robert Mugabe by an official 47.9% to 43.2%.

The opposition contends that Tsvangirai in fact won an outright majority, and should be considered president-elect, but that the vote was rigged with the collusion of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, which only issued results on May 2.

Violence in Mashonaland Central Province, another hot spot, continued.

Sources said four opposition members were badly injured in clashes with ruling party youth militia members Sunday night at Madziwa Mine in Shamva.

A source at Dolphin Farm in Centenary, Mazowe North constituency, Mashonaland Central, said the body of an MDC activist has been decomposing in his hut after his murder last week, but relatives have been threatened with death if they bury him.

Sources in Mashonaland East Province said three MDC activists were murdered last Thursday in Maramba-Pfungwe constituency.

MDC Youth Secretary Solomon Madzore told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that ZANU-PF is trying to terrorize the opposition by abducting and murdering known activists before the presidential runoff ballot on June 27.

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