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Zimbabwe Opposition Buries One Slain Activist while Another Succumbs To Injuries

Senior officials and hundreds of members of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change gathered Thursday in Warren Hills Cemetery, Harare, to bury slain party polling agent Gift Mutsvungunu, reported missing on July 5 and found murdered five days later.

Opposition sources said Mutsvungunu's body showed signs of extreme torture: his eyes were gouged out and his backside was badly burned. MDC officials charge that he was murdered by state agents as his injuries were consistent with those sustained by other victims who were abducted and later killed by members of the state security apparatus.

Secretary General Tendai Biti of the MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai told mourners that continued killings and violence by alleged state operatives obstruct the path to peace in the country. The dominant MDC formation buried another activist, party driver Joshua Bakacheza in Banket, Mashonaland West, on Tuesday.

Harare correspondent Thomas Chiripasi, at Mutsvungunu’s burial, said the post-mortem conducted on the slain activist showed that he met with a cruel death.

MDC officials meanwhile said they extracted four party members from Gokwe General Hospital in Midlands province where they were being denied medical attention despite severe injuries from post-runoff political violence, and rushed them to the Avenues Clinic in Harare.

MDC sources said state security agents and police thwarted two previous efforts to move the patients, seizing ambulances sent to remove them.

Opposition sources charged that the activists were tortured by suspected ZANU-PF militia members following the presidential run-off election June 27 in which President Robert Mugabe claimed to have been re-elected amid international condemnation of the process.

Sources familiar with the situation in Gokwe said violence continued there, with a new torture base established in the local District Development Fund office.

MDC activist Jonah Muzira, who helped rescue the party members from the Gokwe hospital, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he and other activists moved the 12 injured opposition supporters under the cover of night.

Elsewhere, Manicaland provincial spokesman Pishai Muchauraya of the Tsvangirai MDC said abducted activist Reuben Muteke died Saturday from injuries inflicted by ZANU-PF militia who abducted him from his home on June 30 in Muteve village, Buhera Central constituency, then set upon him with machetes, axes and iron bars, eventually leaving him for dead.

Muteke was rushed to Murambinda hospital but died five days later.

Muchauraya said Buhera police took Muteke's body to Mutare General Hospital where a post mortem found that he died from loss of blood, blood clots and punctured lungs. Muteke’s body was still being held at the Murambinda hospital mortuary, Muchauraya said.

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