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Zimbabwe Political Violence Intensifies As Four More Found Dead

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change said Thursday that four activists of the party were found murdered south of Harare near the towns of Chitungwiza and Beatrice, while a fifth member was battling for life in a Harare hospital.

MDC officials said the four were abducted late Tuesday from their Chitungwiza homes after an estimated 300 members of the militia affiliated with the ruling ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe firebombed the home of Chitungwiza councilor Philimon Chipiyo. Election observers of the Pan-African Parliament confirmed seeing the fire-gutted house.

Eyewitness John Kudita of Chitungwiza told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that some of the ZANU-PF militia who mounted the attack on Chitungwiza came by bus from the direction of Harare.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the latest deaths show the need for urgent international intervention in the deepening crisis.

Elsewhere, sources in Manicaland said ruling party militia members on Tuesday abducted the father of Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, a civil society organization based in Harare, and burned the Chipinge South home of his parents.

There was no word as to the whereabouts of the elder Madhuku, at whose rural homestead more than 30 families fleeing political violence had found shelter.

Sources said local opposition members burned the homes of six ZANU-PF supporters in retaliation.

In another incident of violence, sources said ZANU-PF militia detained the wife of Buhera West member of parliament-elect Eric Matinenga after she visited him at the Rusape remand prison, despite the presence of British diplomats. She was threatened with death, then released.

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